College Students and Cell Phone Usage

by Marina Shawd
Generation Mobile

College Student Cell Phone Usage Created by

It’s no secret that college students own cell phones. We see our peers texting between and during classes. They visit social media sites via smartphone. Heck, sometimes they even talk into it. And we fall victim to all these as well. So, what’s the big deal?

An article by Mashable’s Zoe Fox “How Cellphones Shape the Lives of College Students” briefly touches on the evolution and etiquette of cellphone behavior in the classroom. It seems she feels we use our phones a little too much.

The information is broken down using statistics and presented in an infographic created by Hack College (see left). As a journalism student, I didn’t find these numbers shocking. (All numbers taken from’s infographic, at left.)

  • 75% of students keep their phone with them at all times.
  • 97% of students us their phone for social networking
  • 94% of students text every day

In the school of journalism, technological advancements are embraced by students and faculty. We are assigned to tweet and blog for class. A hashtag was even developed to live-tweet during a campus speaker. Phone cameras can be used for last-minute head shots.

If our phone is smart enough, we should utilize all its abilities. Maybe we do use our phones too much, but is it because we’re developing journalistic skills or socializing with our roommate? Why is a smartphone something college students can’t live without? Share it in the comments below.


6 responses to “College Students and Cell Phone Usage

  1. That survey is very interesting. I would’ve thought that the percentage of students that always carry their phone with them would have been higher. I feel that the college student can’t live without smartphones, because our society is all about instant gratification, and smart phones provide this for us. Whether it’s an answer regarding a class discussion, plans for tonight, or creeping on a friend, the smart phone gives us access to immediately do whatever it is we desire.

  2. If all students are doing is texting, then I MIGHT be able to see their point. However, that simply is not true. Students today are much busier than they have ever been and are constantly coordinating what they are doing and what their friends are doing. Besides that, there is the whole smart phone argument which for many students replaces their laptops for most of the day. Being connected is necessary in today’s world and our phones are perfect for it.

    • You bring up a good point. Our phones do often replace our laptops. I respond to email on my phone so I don’t come home to 15 new messages at the end of the day. I’m sure I’m not the only one who receives emails that require an immediate response.

  3. With my personal experience, most international college students that I know don’t text to develop journalistic skills. Instead, they text to either friends they have here or even loved ones back home. Also, I think that not all students have smartphones so they don’t get to tweet all day or even have the ability to check tweets in that matter. For students who are lucky enough to own a smartphone can develop the habit of tweeting for class, getting on Facebook easily and what not. The convenience of it all is what I think that makes a smartphone something college students can’t live without.

    • You are absolutely correct. The survey indicates that not all students have a smartphone, but the statistics shown are for those who do. In my opinion, once people are introduced to smartphones, it would be hard to return to a basic cellphone. This is due to the convenience issue you brought up, as well as the instant gratification point that Zach mentioned.

  4. I might not be the typical college student when it comes to smartphones because I honestly use my Android for two things: texting and the GPS. I mostly stay connected to social media through my laptop, and I use my smartphone when I’m on the go. This is partially because the Android Facebook app is unreliable at best, and also because the Internet interface is less convenient than taking out my laptop.

    I do see the importance of staying connected with social media and the internet though: obviously, this is where we hear about breaking news, and where we break it, the fastest. If I were on assignment somewhere, at least I’d have my smartphone and I’d know how to use it. I think, then, that most students use their phones for the convenience – as you post proves, students almost always have their smartphones with them.

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