My parents always taught me that if you’re having a conversation with someone, you do everything you can to look them in the eye, and you certainly don’t use your phone in front of them. In this hyper-connected world, I struggle to remember conversation’s I’ve had with friends recently who haven’t taken their phone out for some reason. Whilst for some this is common practice, I for one might be part of the small minority of young people who find this to be pretty rude.
I use my friend who I talked to on the duck pond lawn last week for an example. We sat there over lunch, catching up over all walks of life. I throughly enjoyed this, however couldn’t help but notice the presence of his mobile phone in his hand for the entire conversation… Literally. Every few minutes or so he would check the screen. Most of the time it would be promptly put back down and ignored, but every few minutes there would be a conscious effort to reply to a Snapchat or text message.
So why is it that as 21st century people we feel so obliged to constantly stay connected to our phones? Are we accustomed to being in more than one place at a time, Or are we simply subject to a separation anxiety of sorts without our social media channels? My first post touches on the idea that if you weren’t the first to see it, you might as well have not seen it at all, right? Sherry Turkle provides a fascinating TED talk on the idea that modern technologies have given us the ability to feel ‘Alone Together’ – who believes as a society we are losing the ability to relate to one another, as well as ourselves and our capacity for self reflection.
Touching on this notion, I would like to analyse social media use for the current generation of young adults which would be relevant and beneficial to my studies (18-22).
I intend to conduct interviews with people I know and have access to, gaining insight into how much they use social media, and indeed how and why they do this. I will also challenge these people to ‘Log out’ of their respective media channels to see if their daily attitudes or habits change, as well as if they struggle to function in social situations without the ability to look at their phones. I can measure this by checking their data usage on each social media application if given permission to do so. I also intend to ask a series of questions before and after the experiment, such as.
- How long a day do you spend on your phone?
- Do you feel anxious without knowing where your phone is?
- Do you look at your phone if you’re talking to someone?
- Do you look at your phone when you first wake up?
- How many social media sites do you have?
In doing this collaborative research I will ensure that I am conscious of abiding by the MEAA code of ethics to ensure I am not surpassing ethical or moral boundaries as a researcher. I will report my information independently, honestly, fairly and respectfully.