Digital detox: College students come off social media for 2 days

The average person checks social media at least 100 times per day.

COLLEGE PARK, MD. (WUSA9) - Are you a little obsessed with your smartphone?

It’s okay. You’re not alone. The average person unlocks their phone at least 110 times a day, according to an Android App company called Locket.

WUSA9 challenged a group of 100 students at the Robert H. Smith Business School at the University of Maryland to go without social media for 48 hours.

Before the experiment started, WUSA9’s Mikea Turner asked students questions like how much time they spend on social media. Most of the class said they spend between four and six hours a day on it.

So what are they looking at?

Students pointed to cooking and pet videos, news, celebrity gossip and simply connecting with their friends and family.

"I like those little Tasty videos on how to make meals,” said Karen Dolle, who chuckled. “I enjoy those.”

"I’m a military spouse. So, I use it [Facebook] to keep up with what everyone is doing,” said Buffy Soens. “Also, a lot of cat videos.”

More than 75 percent of both classes admit they spend too much time on social media a day.

“I find myself looking down at my phone realizing, like wow it's just a nervous tick that I do to get throughout the day," said Jack Rogers, who participated in the study. 

After the challenge started, students spent the next two days without going on their social platforms.  The results were self-reported and we relied on the honors system. However, students were encouraged by their professor, Dr. Nicole Coomber, to complete the study for extra credit. Students had to write about their experience to get it.

In the end, many said they were much more productive than they have been in a while. Some said they read, slept and spent more time talking with their friends or family on the phone.

When asked what they learned from the social experiment, some students said they noticed how much they check their phone on a regular basis without even thinking about it.

"I learned that I use social media to just stay connected and to know what's going on out in the world,” said L.J. Scarpitto. “ Without it. I felt kind of lost. "

Many of the students deleted their mobile apps to help them stay offline.

Coming up on Wake Up Washington Wednesday morning, Dr. Coomber provides tips on ways to enjoy social media without wasting time.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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