Smartphone culture aids student life

Blackberry, iPhone or Android, student life is closely tied with smartphones.

As Apple’s latest iPhone, the 4S, hits shelves Friday, students are beginning to weigh the hefty price tag of these phones against their usefulness both inside and outside of the classroom.

“It’s absolutely critical for this generation to have the kind of constant, instant and therefore mobile access to the Internet,” said Morley Winograd, a senior fellow at Annenberg at the Center for Communication Leadership and Policy. “[A smartphone] really enhances the social experience.”

Loading · Smartphones can augment educational activities, in addition to allowing students to interact socially in different ways. - Katherine Montgomery | Daily Trojan

Winograd said having an iPhone or similar smartphone is an important part of student life.

“A smartphone is [just] a very mobile computer,” Winograd said. “I don’t think anyone would question the need for a computer on campus, and they shouldn’t question the use of a smartphone.”

A smartphone can be social and educational; as smartphones become more prevalent, the two uses often become simultaneous.

“[Smartphones] just open up so many possibilities; you can do so much networking like Facebook,” said Shelby Bartholomew, a junior majoring in creative writing. “I can email my professors [and] I don’t even have to be in front of a computer, so it definitely opens up a lot more communication.”

Smartphones, however, are expensive for college students. The 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S costs $199, and Blackberry and Android phones start at $179. Winograd, however, said any student can benefit from the services a smartphone offers.

“The apps now available are tailored to students,” Winograd said. “And it increases productivity as a student but also as an individual.”

For some who don’t already have smartphones, the release of the iPhone comes at a welcome time.

“I’m actually about to change my phone,” said Hong Pang, a graduate student studying philosophy. “[With a smartphone] I can get access to my email, and it’s especially important when applying for jobs so you can get updated information.”

As a teacher’s assistant, Pang sees students using smartphones regularly, but has not found them to be a problem in class.

“Most [students] are engaged during class and during the discussion section,” she said.

Many students who don’t have smartphones said they feel the devices are not absolutely necessary.

“It’s not necessarily important, but it’s just not as convenient — not just for Facebook, but just to be more connected to people,” said Christina Sheu, a freshman majoring in biology who does not own a smartphone. “But it keeps me from being addicted to Facebook.”


Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the iPhone 4s hit shelves Oct. 11.

3 replies
  1. Chuck
    Chuck says:

    Yeah, among other totally incorrect statements in this article:
    – the iPhone 4S goes on sale (“hits the shelves”) this Friday, not today (technically, pre-orders started online last Friday)
    – the cheapest iPhone is actually the 3GS, which is *FREE* with contract. Additionally, the iPhone 4 is also available for $99, so to suggest that iPhones *start* at $199 is false.
    – similarly, many Android phones and Blackberries can be had at free or far cheaper than the quoted $179 starting price, with contract

    Overall, this piece is just pointless — it can’t seem to decide whether it’s an opinion piece arguing for smartphones (“critical for students”) or a whiny story about how expensive they are. Either way, especially with the stupid inaccuracies, it’s certainly not a news story.

  2. DT fan
    DT fan says:

    I just want to say to everyone at the Daily Trojan that I think you are all doing a great job, the paper has improved significantly over the years from your hard work. Keep it up, and keep passionately reporting the news to students.

    • Daniel
      Daniel says:

      maybe if they actually got their facts straight, this comment would make sense. but seeing as they get many facts wrong, including this entire article, this comment is useless.

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