Without Internet, Life Is Unthinkable, College Kids Tell Survey
Is life worth living without the Internet? According to one-third of college students and young professionals, the answer is no. And 1 in 3 respondents in a recent survey conducted by tech giant Cisco considered the Internet to be as important as air, water, food and shelter. More than half said they could not live without the Internet.
The results are part of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report that surveyed 2,800 adults under age 30 in 14 countries. “The Internet continues to dramatically change the way we live, work, play and learn, and for many has become a basic necessity of everyday life,” Jeff Seifert, Cisco’s chief technology officer, said in a statement.
A look at the results illustrates just how much society has changed. TVs, books and even the office are on their way to obsolescence. Will face-to-face exchanges suffer the same fate?
Virtual world overshadows real life
While parents may applaud their kids’ choice of Internet over partying, some of the study’s findings show that online activities may be eclipsing real-life experiences. More than 1 in 4 college students globally (27 percent) said staying updated on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music or hanging out with friends. Most college students (81 percent) and younger employees (73 percent) check their Facebook at least once a day and a third of those check at least five times a day.
Tech can be distracting. Students reported that they are often distracted by online messages — instant messages, calls via Skype or other online service and social media updates — while studying. In a given hour, 84 percent of college students are interrupted at least once and 12 percent said “they lose count how many times they are interrupted while they are trying to focus on a project.”
Two-thirds of students and more than half of employees said a mobile device was the most important technology in their lives. Smartphones topped the list.
“This finding fans the debate over the necessity of offices compared to the ability to connect to the Internet and work anywhere, such as at home or in public settings,” Cisco said. “In the 2010 edition of the study, 60 percent of employees globally said offices are unnecessary for being productive.”
Social media has not only replaced “the open-door policy” favored by progressive managers over the last decade, but has blurred the lines between boss and friend. Worldwide, 70 percent of employees have friended their managers and/or co-workers on Facebook . However, in the U.S., young employees are far more cautious than their global peers: only 23 percent have added their boss or co-workers to Facebook.
Farewell to newspapers, books and the TV
While the content from traditional media sources continues to be relevant to today’s young adults, how it’s consumed has shifted. Paper and living room TVs are being shunned for their mobile digital counterparts, including phones, tablets and e-readers.
A TV is no longer needed to watch TV, with the likes of Hulu, Netflix and other Internet entertainment providers. Fewer than 1 in 10 respondents said the TV is the most important technology device in their daily lives. As TV programming and movies become available on mobile devices, this downward trend is expected to continue, Cisco said.
According to the survey, only 1 in 25 respondents turned to the newspaper for information and with the exception of textbooks , 21 percent of students have not bought a book in a bookstore in more than two years.
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