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Robert Morris University Students Abstain From Social Media

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

RickDayton Rick Dayton
Rick Dayton joined KDKA in September 2009 as a morning news anchor. ...
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MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Imagine if you weren’t allowed to use your digital devices for a couple days. A group of 32 students at Robert Morris University tried to do it.

“We get to get rid of our abstaining,” Yvonne Bland, an RMU lecturer, said. “We get to live again with our friends in our full virtual, social and real-life world — so everyone take out your phones.”

It’s the end of a social experiment. A class at Robert Morris has been out of touch with social media for 48 hours.

“As soon as I logged in, I’m already checking people’s statuses, liking comments and commenting on them,” Cameron Chadwick, of San Diego, Calif., said.

And as if that weren’t enough, they literally had to write about it in an old-fashioned blue book.

Shane Spirit, from Cecil, explained what the experience was like.

“It’s a quick way that I can get on and see if people are going places and what’s new, if things broke in the news,” she said.

The idea came from Robert Morris University lecturer Yvonne Bland.

“We’ve also gone to the point where our social and our work tasks are being married in the social networking software,” she said. “We don’t see Facebook as social anymore.”

Nearly half the class admits that in just 48 hours — they cheated — some saying as many as ten times in just two days.

“For me, texting and calling really wasn’t a big deal, however, I love Instagram, so it was pretty hard for me not to be on it,” Monae Clark, a junior, said.

“It was so hard for me not to go on Twitter and find out what was going on,” Sarah Cave, a sophomore, said.

Some students added that they were surprised how much they relied on social media while others say the time away from it was less stressful.

And it wasn’t just the kids who had a hard time staying away.

“I am telling you I sat there with my hands on the keyboard saying, ‘No. No. Don’t do it,’” Bland said. “I didn’t do it. I didn’t go to SL for 48 hours.”

But the students did learn the benefit of doing things without the touch of tech.

“At first I thought this is really weird because I have to look at people’s faces and I don’t know what to say and I can’t even look at my phone, but then I realized how good it felt to look into someone’s face and actually see their reaction,” Lisa Folli, of Italy, said.

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