I check my Facebook at least 2 times a day, I am always logged onto my Twitter account with the help of my phone, and

I check my email about 3 times a day. I think it‟s safe to say that this is the case for a good amount of college students. If not, then it applies to my friends because whenever I am online, so are they. There are more than 500 million active Facebook users who log onto the social network daily. Today‟s generation has many nicknames. We‟re the Net Generation, Generation M, Generation Z, Connected Generation, the Internet Generation and digital natives. All of these names practically mean the same thing: we live in the generation of the Internet and multitasking. We depend on the Internet for a lot. Not only do we use the Internet for school and professional purposes, but we also use the Internet for a great deal of communication with our friends online. As explained by Jessica Moorman and Anne Bowker in the study of social networking on interpersonal relationships, “Generations today are experiencing a new wave of interpersonal communication. Currently, with the rise of online communities, communication has shifted away from traditional modes of interpersonal communication . . . to a more digital approach to maintaining and establishing relationships.” (Moorman and Bowker). With the shift in the way that this generation communicates, is it having a great affect on our generation than we thought? And if so, is it a positive or negative effect? In an interview with Justin Cary, an English professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he talked about how he thought that the adjustments that students are now making to the Internet is, in a way, convenient. The adjustments are convenient because there is a concrete way for a student and professor to communicate with each other on a common platform. Some students may not like to check their email on a daily

basis, but they can readily check their Facebook at any time. Professor Cary requires his students to join the classroom English group on the social website Facebook and there is where he choses to give his students helpful information, and has them submit classwork on Facebook as well. During the interview, professor Cary concluded, “ . . . if more teachers incorporated social media and social networking in their courses, academics would improve because more people would begin to see Facebook as a legitimate academic tool rather than a time waster.“ Professor Cary also proclaims that social media ties greatly into student academic life as well as the social life and that students and professors would connect better and possibly have grades increase if professors began to use social media. Grades would potentially go up because students would have their schoolwork in front of them in a comfortable environment. Researchers have stated that it‟s easier to communicate with strangers online because the awkward tension that is usually present when meeting new people in person would be absent. Students that may be shy and quiet in a classroom setting may feel more comfortable with social networks because the whole fear of having to speak in front of a large group is eliminated. Facebook can be a tension free environment, which brings no pressure and allows individuals to openly state what‟s on their mind. By students being able to ask and say more online, not only do they receive feedback form their professor, but they‟ll also receive feedback from their classmates online. Sometimes a student can explain instructions and information in a more comprehensive way than a professor can which results in the student getting a better understanding of their assignments, hence potentially making better grades.

The Internet has changed the way we go about our daily lives. We rely on social networks and social media to keep up with what‟s going on in the world. A majority of professors on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus prefer to have major papers submitted online rather than having a paper copy. The use of newspapers has decreased drastically since the boom of social media and the instantaneous news that‟s heard on the radio, seen no television, and seen online. Generation M, or Z, as well as the Internet Generation, or digital natives, consists of those who were born in the 90‟s up until now. Sherry Posnick-Goodwin, in an article from the California Teacher‟s Association, includes that “ . . . Most educators agree that today‟s kids are extremely different from youngsters of previous generations . . .” So much has happened in the last 2 decades. Surgeons can perform surgeries on a patient and have that patient sent home the same day, we can communicate with someone on the other side of the world with just the click of a button, and we have electric powered cars. With our generation being the next to step up to the plate, what‟s in store for the future is uncertain. There‟s no telling what type of technological advances will be made. Today‟s society is almost fully submerged in social media. “In the US, 93% of teens . . . and 89% of young adults are online” (Jones & Fox, 2009). Parents and researchers see this as a window for great potential, and also a window of concern. With students in this generation being so techs savvy, a lot of kids will have jobs that don‟t exist yet. It‟s also mind blowing how students are able to juggle multiple tasks at one time. Today‟s youth are skilled at being able to listen to music, watch their favorite TV show and work on homework in one setting. Parents worry about the fact that their children are able to complete so many tasks at one time could undermine their learning.

Researcher Sherry Turkle warns that exposure to digital media may compromise youth‟s development of a sense of self-identity, autonomy, and intimacy (Turkle, 1995). People who spend an excessive amount online may lose basic human skills such as acknowledging the presence of other people, reading facial expressions and body posture, and also being able to effectively communicate their feelings face-to-face. In a case study, the participant, Scott, a nineteen-year-old college sophomore, admitted to his addiction to a multiuser dimension, MUD. MUD is an online community that allows for people to communicate with each other online. Scott had good grades for his first 3 semesters in college, but after he joined MUD, his grades began to slip to the point of him being threatened with dismissal from his institution. Scott‟s infatuation with MUD resulted in multiple changes in his behavior; he was not getting along with his parents, he displayed symptoms of depression, her grades were falling, and he real life relationships on campus had changed. He didn‟t‟ know or try to get to know any of his hall mates for that entire school year (Anderson, 2001.) This is a good argument, however, this is based on a single person‟s experience. Scott‟s experience can‟t speak for everyone else who is involved with online communities. Researcher Katie Davis explains how some experts have one of two opinions: some researchers and policy makers argue that involvement in digital media is causing today‟s youth to become antisocial and illiterate. Other policy makers think that Generation M‟s involvement with digital media is an interesting and exciting journey. The world is getting a view of what today‟s youths are thinking about and what they express online. Now as for Generation X, some students say that they rely to keep up with their social life, use the interest as a medium to keep up with current events, and keep up with

schoolwork. Some students, however, argue that digital media, while it is helpful, causes a great distraction in their academic life. During Katie Davis‟s study, one of her participants said that she relied on digital media to keep up with things in her academic and social life. She would visit blogs if different friends she had that didn‟t live close to her to see what was new in their lives. Her professors also posted assignments online so she‟d check their websites regularly to make sure she was on the right track. The student spoke to her about how the Internet sometimes hindered her productivity. She would set aside a specific window of time to get an assignment done and somehow she‟d end up browsing on a webpage or chatting with friends online and missing her deadline. To make up for it, the student would have to cut down on her sleep so that she could complete the assignment, then later have to shorten the time that she‟d plan to socialize with friends so that she could catch up on missed sleep. In that study that was discussed earlier about the student who was at risk for being kicked out of school because his grades slipped due to his dedication to online communities, you can see that the Internet may indeed slow some students down when it comes to completing schoolwork. There‟s no surprise that researchers, parents, and educators feel the same way about it. What about those students who exercise self-discipline with their schoolwork? What about the students that claim that digital network doesn‟t affect their academic life in a detrimental way? What about the students who say that using digital media in the classroom serves as a big help? In a recent study done by a Dr. Amy Martin, a psychology professor at Phoenix College set up a classroom TA (teaching assistant), Cliff, on Facebook. The TA posted helpful study tip, classroom reminders and any last minute changes. Students were so

impressed by the online teaching assistant; they began checking online before they checked with the professor. The students became so comfortable with Cliff; he became real to them. The online presence that Cliff had allowed for students with the same major, interest, or classes come together to communicate with each other and help each other out. With Cliff‟s availability on Facebook, Martin says she received fewer questions from her students, had she just posted the syllabus online. Martin stresses that it‟s important to find a common ground with today‟s student and most of today‟s students are involved with social media. From personal experiences, I prefer to have my professors pot things online because students can go back and check out the instructions or the due dates online rather than having to constantly having to ask the teacher repetitive questions. When teachers bring education online, not only does it make the student engage more, but also it brings together students and allows them to help each other out.

Your paper is very good and interesting, I feel like a lot of us can relate to your paper. We use the internet an incredible amount in our generation. I find it interesting how students spoke more to a fake online „assistant teacher” more than they would talk to an actual professor. You may want to go over your in text citations one more time a few of them I am not sure that you need the parenthesis when you say who the source is coming from. Other than that your paper is really good. Sorry it took me so long to get back I had a crazy weekend with it being Easter.

Works Cited
Anderson, Keith J. "Internet Use Among College Students: An Exploratory Study." Journal of American College Health 50.1 (2001): 21. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. Cary, Justin. “ Re: A Couple of Questions.” Message sent to the author. 28 Feb. 2012. E-mail. Davis, Katie. "A Life In Bits And Bytes: A Portrait Of A College Student And Her Life With Digital Media." Teachers College Record 113.9 (2011): Education Research Complete. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.

Martin, J. Amy. “Beyond Social Networking: Using Facebook to Promote Student Engagement, Study Skills, and Critical Thinking.” American Psychological Association. n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. Moorman, Jessica and Bowker, Anne. “The University Facebook Experience: The Role of Social Networking on the Quality of Interpersonal Relationships.” The American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences Journal 15.1 (2011) 201. AABSS. Web. 5 Apr. 2012.

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