By Keegan Ried and Christinia Torres:
From smart phones to video games, few people can live without spending several hours a day plugged in to various types of technology.
Some experts say technology addiction poses problems for many college students, but for others, devices provide an escape and a place to bond.
According to “The Telegraph UK,” overusing technology can lead to depression and anxiety.
The symptoms of this addiction can include “being fretful, confused, anxious, irritable, insecure, nervous, restless, crazy, panicked, jealous, angry, lonely, dependent, depressed, jittery and paranoid.”
“The Telegraph” reports that students compare technology withdrawal to the “itching of a crackhead,” and note that four out of five students have had “significant mental and physical distress, panic, confusion and extreme isolation when forced to unplug” from technology for as little as a day.
At Amarillo College, however, technology has brought some students together.
These students are finding camaraderie and developing new relationships through an unexpected medium—video games.
Every day a group of students gathers in the fourth-floor lobby between the Byrd Business building and Parcells Hall.
Justin Tolley, a criminal justice major, said the group of gamers plays just about everything. “If it’s a game we’ve probably played it or heard of it. Someone up here usually has it,” Tolley said.
The games aren’t relegated to just one system. Many different people bring all sorts of gaming systems and laptops.
Tolley said gamers and spectators can usually be found in the lobby throughout the day and even as late as 9 p.m. Even though gaming has given the group a common interest, students said it’s not what binds the group together.
Israel Baltazar, a computer game design major, said the group acts as a sort of respite from the demands of everyday life and the stress of schoolwork.
“Sometimes people have bad things going on at home, so, they can come here and be surrounded by friends,” Baltazar said.
Tolley said that the group members also push each other to prioritize schoolwork over games.
“If other students need the TVs to do their school work, we move out of the way so they can use them,” Tolley said. “We always put schoolwork first. That’s what we tell everybody when they come up here. If someone says they have homework to do, we try to push them toward school first.”