by RUTH A. HILL

Did you hear the one about Danna Walker, an American University professor who required her “Understanding Mass Media” students to undertake an e-media fast? She insisted they do no TV, computers, iPods or other MP3 devices, radio, video games, CD players, cell phones, or land phone lines for 24 hours. Despite student shrieks of, “What, no cell phones?” and other cries of desperation, the fast was completed, reports were written, and results were discussed.

In her article published in The Washington Post, Walker reported some students said they had gotten more sleep or spent more time with their families. Others said it felt like they were in isolation, because they realized most of their friends weren’t in their same geographic area. Clearly, those students had been spending more time on social media sites such as MySpace than with classmates and others in their real-time sphere.

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