Stucomm

   

Striking the right balance

This blog is part of our short stories in which we explore the relationship students have with their mobile phones be it positive or negative, the impact mobile phones have on students lives, and finally how best to strike a balance. Read firstsecond or third blog. 

Mobile phones are an unavoidable aspect of a modern student's life. Attempts to curtail their usage generally proves futile, particularly for university students who, as young adults can make their own decisions. This year’s undergraduates were eleven when Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone to the world back in 2007. Digital and mobile first is all this generation knows.

A report released by Deloitte in early 2018, highlights some important trends about 18-24s engagement with their mobile phone devices.

  • Device type - 18-24s show a marked preference towards premium devices - they consequently expect a similar user experience across the apps and other systems they use. 
  • Amount of usage - Throughout the day, 46% of people aged 18-24 were found to use their phone either ‘all the time’ or ‘very often’, without receiving a notification. This compares to just 26% across other age groups.
  • Usage type - 18-24s usage of their phones stems far beyond texting and calling, they are more likely to communicate through social networks on the smartphones, use a range of instant messaging services, and make video calls on their phone rather than via another device.
  • Expectations - More than any other generation, young people demand high ease and speed of use across the technologies they use. Across every category surveyed, from digital IDs to mobile payments, 18-24s showed the strongest preference to managing their lives from their mobile devices.

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The above results are a strong indication for a mobile first approach. Across all categories 18-24s are showing a strong preference for managing every aspect of their lives from their mobile devices. With demand for a mobile focussed approach and the advancement of available technologies working in tandem, it is an unavoidable reality.

Universities have a huge responsibility in terms of what, how, and when they distribute information to their students. A scattered unpersonalised approach, often leads to an unhappy and disengaged student body. 

StuComm personalises the information students receive, condensing communication to notifications, and seamlessly linking each component of a students life. For example students can view their personal timetable, are notified about changes via notifications, and are directed to the correct support channels if they are falling short in any area of their student life.  By enabling the above we reduce the time students need to spend on their device, whilst maximising the resources available. This in turn helps students seek a more positive relationship with their devices.

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From a very young age most of today's students have been given free reign over their mobile phones. Even today we're yet to truly understand the long-term effects over usage of our devices can bring. As Brianna Cowley recently commented in The Atlantic, you wouldn't give your children an endless supply of candy or cigarettes as they progress through their adolescent life. 

On average, students now view their phones 80 times a day, that's almost 2,400 times a month, which is roughly 30,000 a year (Elmore, 2017). Phones to students have become an 'appendage to their body" with a Pew Research Center survey highlighting that students view it as important to them as air and water.

History is littered with "examples of new technologies causing unintended harm." It takes time for young adults to truly understand the risk and cause and effect of their actions and behaviours. Universities are ultimately responsible for their students welfare, and must do everything in their power to ensure that their digital and mobile strategy is at the forefront of the institutions ambitions moving forward.  The solution is not to abandon mobile phones but to view them as tools, a means to an end that enable students to better achieve their goals and fulfil their ambitions.