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"I Was Itching Like a Crackhead": Study Finds College Students Addicted to Media

Students across the globe can't function without media for even 24 hours without experiencing addiction-like withdrawal symptoms.



What do college students in China, Chile, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Uganda have in common? According to a new global study by the University of Maryland's International Center for Media & the Public Affairs (ICMPA) and the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change, they're all addicted to media. That might not seem like news—after all, there's a reason the term "CrackBerry" came into being—but just how severely students are addicted is startling, and has real implications for our schools where Skyping, blogging, learning-via-gaming technology is increasingly the norm.

Researchers asked 1,000 students at a dozen universities in ten countries on five continents to abstain from any kind of media consumption—no TV, no smartphone games, no Twitter or Facebook, and no instant messaging—for 24 hours, and then write about how they felt. A majority confessed that they actually couldn't complete the challenge. Even a few hours without access to media made American students feel, "like an addict," and like they were "going crazy. One even wrote, "I was itching, like a crackhead, because I could not use my phone." (CrackBerry, indeed!)

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