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Do you think college students are too dependent on computers?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 8, 2007

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Photo of Davia Ruge

“No. For me personally, I really appreciate always having access to e-mail and the Internet. I just think it makes communication that much easier and inexpensive. I see it as more of a liberation than a dependency.”

Photo of David Carttar

“No. Generally computers are only a tool that equally reveals your talents and ineptitude. They allow you to do good things better and bad things worse.”

Photo of Creed Shepard

“I don’t think so. That’s like asking if the Plains Indians were too dependent on the buffalo. Aside from fossil fuels, computers are the linchpin of our entire economy.”

Photo of Ellen Mae Johnson

“No, because the system is set up that way. Students are often forced to use computers as their only means of finding out their assignments and responsibilities. I would say that the dependence lies on the other side of the blackboard.”


H_Lecter 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't know; I've never used a computer.

paladin 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, yeah, fer sure. I don't know a whole heck of a lot about em. Tried ta build one oncet from some odds n ends round the house an she started a smokin, caught on far, an burned clean up atakin the back porch with er in the bargain. Oh well. I think most all peoples is way too dang deependent on pretinear all new fangled ways an machines and such that's in this here world today. And I guess them college students is peoples too. Take plumbin fer instance. I don't think most folks would function, ha ha, without yer indoor plumbin. Jest can't see folks a goin back ta visitin the outhouse in back, specially them sorority girls, ta do that bidness. They'd probly jest a sooner blow up and explode then haf ta do without there indoor plumbin. I jest wonder what folks round these parts would do ifin a big twister took an blowed thar houses an all a thar stuf on away ta kingdom come an all a them conveeniences on with it now. How'd in the Lord's name would they get by?

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

Yes, definately too dependent. I mean, any day now Skynet will become self-aware, and we'll all regret our using computers then. Just look at you computer, staring smugly back at you. Just you wait.

/what a dumb question

Ceallach 7 years, 10 months ago

No, and many staff members wish the administration would become more dependent on their computers :)

staff04 7 years, 10 months ago

Maybe not too dependent on the computer per se, but definitely too dependent on the Internet. I think there are many merits to learning how the Dewey Decimal System works, or how to actually conduct library research. You know, just in case you come across a hard-arsed professor who doesn't accept "but my computer crashed" as an excuse.

The internet was only beginning to be used for research when I was in college...I'm glad I learned how to perform both online and hard-copy research.

samsnewplace 7 years, 10 months ago

No more so than the rest of the world is. If you have no computer knowledge, good luck finding a job these days!

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 10 months ago

NO! I fr 1 b4 tbs & cpu wiw. Imho niasaa & can ccw.

(translation: NO! I for one, before the big screen (terminals) and cpu (cpu) was an ignorant wretch. In my humble opinion, now I'm as smart as anyone and can communicate clearly with the world. thanks to spell check for helping me with this long sentence, 'cause I'm a great abbreviator, but I can't put two vowels together that make sense

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

I think you've got a good point, Staff...

If the electriciy went out for a prolonged period of time, a lot of students now would have no idea on how to research, write, and type a paper by hand. They wouldn't have a clue on how to make more than one copy manually. (not necessarily the fault of the students, since they seem to have stopped making carbon paper)

Computers come in handy for research and typing papers...although, especially if you use the net, you have to be extremely careful what you use for your research. There are reliable sources, and highly unreliable ones available. Can they tell the difference?

Growing up in an era where computers used to take up a whole room, and now working at a job where use of the computer is a daily necessity, I've been on both sides. I can't say that one is better than the other.

As for the question, are students too dependent on computers...I'm not sure. However, if the question was: are students too ADDICTED to computers, then I'd say the answer is YES.

With e-mail, games, the me a person under the age of 25 that can go for more than one day without using their computer, even if they aren't in school and don't need one for work.

sgtwolverine 7 years, 10 months ago

...They ask on an internet forum. Ha!

As others have said, I don't think it's a dependency; it's a necessity.

But I would disagree with Davia. I don't think computers are liberating, either. They're highly useful, but they're also kind of a pain in some ways. My computer is great, and it lets me do quite a few things (it's a big part of my photographic work) ... but I always seem to want my computer to be just a little bit faster or more capable in one way or another. There's always something new and better out there. So no, I wouldn't really call them liberating. Just useful and, in many ways, necessary.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

Harley, computers are a tool...a convenient one...but I don't think they're totally necessary.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 10 months ago

I agree with drazyks, they are simply a tool. However in today's "buy-buy-buy" whether you need it or not, the tech geeks have found a number of new ways to snocker the public into thinking that they have something no one really can really get along without. I do not own, nor will I ever own a cell phone, and no one had a problem finding me when they need me. Cell phones are for the terminally frightened who think no one will talk to them. And we are all damned fools for falling for all this crap. I used to travel a lot, and learned how to read a paper map. Garmin, indeed! Yes, we are all sheep to follow the tiny transistor and it's decendents, but not really better off. Do you know what to do when your batteries fail? How about when the hard drive crashes?. PANIC!!!!!!! Some are absolutely devistated because of the undying faithfulness and devotion to these mechanical and electronic gimcracks. We were better off without them and spending time doing meaninful things besides standing in the supermarket aisle screaming "portebello mushrooms" to some confulsed caller suffering on the other end of the call ( and maybe several others with scanner radios listening in and splitting their sides laughing at the rediculous blather being broadcast on the airwaves.

Sigmund 7 years, 10 months ago

No, because my dog ate my paper just doesn't work as well as myDog.virus wiped my hard drive.

sunflower_sue 7 years, 10 months ago

Are you kidding? My tweens can't even manage school work w/out one! Maybe if we lived closer than 7+ miles to a library, we'd use that "tool" more often. Besides, if I took them to the library to do research, chances are good that they'd just belly up to a computer anyway.

Janet Lowther 7 years, 10 months ago

Too dependent on computers? No.

Too prone to abuse computers? Yes.

By abuse I mean allowing the telegraphic abbreviations from instant messaging to slip over into real writing. By abuse, I mean plagiarizing sections or even whole papers from the internet. (For heaven's sake, at least rewrite it, don't just copy and paste!)

The spell checker has done more to improve my spelling than all the spelling tests I took in school put together. Of course, at this point, I've been using the spell checker for about twentyfive years, while I only had spelling tests for what, 8 years? (Yes, WordPerfect 1.? for the Data General minicomputer had a spellchecker clear back in 1982.)

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 10 months ago

Reticent Irreverent....Right On!!

My bank recently switched to a "new improved" system. I have no idea what was wrong with the old on. The employees are still keeping the "fm" ( Manual") at hand becase even they cannot figure out how to use the damned new complicated system. Now I have to "swipe" my own card. something the teller did before. And the hidden fees for everything, even at my own bank, are mulitplying by the gross. And it took me over an hour to figure out how to access my own account information on the "new system" after the complex and confusing proceedure for accessing my information.

We can only hope that this effort by Bill Gates and the techno=nazis (new improved, buy new, buy more of our crap) will someday backfire on this bunch of bandits. Can't we???????

blackwalnut 7 years, 10 months ago

Too many people conduct their social lives entirely through a keyboard.

In my opinion, something important has been lost.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

Then s it being a necessity the fault of the computer, Harley, or of the teacher?

You know, this all reminds me of a simple example of how technology has changed how people operate. My daughter, born in the tech age, does math by hand and then checks it on the calculator. I, on the other hand, use the calculator, and then check the answers by hand.

I have had the pleasure of growing up without such technology, having had such technology developed within my lifetime, and learning how to use it. I do not necessarily trust said technology, knowing how a file or a complete hard drive can be whisked away to the nether regions for no apparent reason, and apparently on a whim, and never to be seen again.

I use technology, I just don't depend on it. I don't trust it.

Perhaps you had to grow up dirt poor, where having electricity wasn't always an every day thing, dependent upon the ability to pay the damn bill every month.

Perhaps you had to grow up in an era where black and white TVs were the norm, and only the rich had color. Of course I have a color TV can't even find a black and white one anymore. My daughter, however, won't deign to watch a show or a movie in black and white.

When did we decide that our kids watching too much TV every day was a bad thing, but having them sitting at the computer watching a different kind of screen (but basically the same as a TV) for hours on end was okay?

My daughter spends hours online every day, talking to people online, and calls them her "friends". I get online, and talk to people. I know that, somewhere, there's an actual human at the other end of that connection, but they're really just an electronic blip to me. They're totally anonymous, and could be anyone, and could be lying about anything.

I prefer face to face contact with people I really know.

Gee, when I was a kid we didn't even have a phone most of the time. We would decide to go visit someone. If they were home, and it was an inconvenient time, we left again. If they weren't home, we left again.

What a concept, huh? But it worked, for hundreds of thousands of people over the years.

Back when human contact was considered important, instead of a text of how r u...Not to mention my supervisor at work, who constantly sends e-mails to people stating, "please f u", when what she really means is "follow up"...dozens of people thought she was politely swearing at them for awhile...

Might be interesting now if a teacher would assign kids to do homework and/or a paper the old fashioned way. Can the kids adapt as easily to the old way as I did to the technology way?

come_on_now 7 years, 10 months ago

Isn't the other side of the blackboard drywall and studs.

sgtwolverine 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm sad this has turned into a "When I was young" topic.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 10 months ago

crazyks, you seem to have reached a good relationship with technilogy. I wish I could. But then I have already had a small stroke, and frankly, I try to avoid being trapped by it as much as I can. Keep the faith, and we will prevail.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 10 months ago

I use technology, and the computer, every day. I learned how before it was even a common thing. I e-mail and visit websites and all that stuff...but I don't rely on it as my major form of entertainment.

All I was getting at is that I know how to things both ways...with and without technology. Can kids now say the same thing?

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

"you seem to have reached a good relationship with technilogy. I wish I could"

Me too. It usually comes home late, drunk, and hits me.

denak 7 years, 10 months ago

I think college students are way to dependent on computers. Computers are fine for writing papers but not when you use them as your only means of research. Too many people think all they have to do to find information is to google something and then write down what the computer says. There is something to be said for actually going to the library, finding the correct books and reading them to get an in depth understanding of the subject. Students aren't learning the process and as a result, they are shortchanging themselves. I am taking a legal research class now and the assignments require us to go the Wheat Law Library and look for the hard bound sources but way to many of my classmates are getting on LexisNexis and Westlaw to find the answers to the questions. They are cheating themselves out of the process.

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