WASHINGTON – Technology has become so entwined with collegestudents‘ often frantic lives that most in a new survey say they’d be more frazzled without it.
Yet The Associated Press-mtvU Poll, released Thursday, also found that being perpetually connected comes at a cost. While 57 percent of students said life without computers and cell phones would make them more stressed, a significant number — 25 percent — said it would be a relief. A big majority feel pressured to instantly answer texts or voice mails, most get nervous if someone doesn’t immediately reply to a message, and nearly half worry whether messages they get are jokes.
“If you’re without it, you’re disconnected,” Megan Earley, 20, a junior at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., said of technology. “You feel like it’s a lifeline.”
The Internet’s central role for many students was underscored last month when Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman, leaped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after others secretly webcast his sexual encounter with another man. News reports said Clementi left a note on his Facebook page reading, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”
The AP-mtvU Poll of more than 2,000 college students, conducted before Clementi’s death became public, found that 9 in 10 had been on a social networking site like Facebook in the past week. About the same number routinely text to arrange meetings with friends and two-thirds relax by watching movies or TV shows online.
On a deeper level, many use technology to emit cries for help. One in five say they’ve posted public messages on sites like Facebook seeking emotional support, while more than two-thirds say they’ve read public posts by friends pleading for such assistance. Women are more likely than men to post such messages or say they’ve seen them.