Singapore students spent 8 hours without the Internet – the results were astounding

Singapore students spent 8 hours without the Internet – the results were astounding

This experiment reaffirms the notion that children and teenagers are drawn to modern technology. Read on to find out their reactions...

Recently, The New Paper conducted an informal experiment that tested students' dependencies on the Internet and modern technology. Five students aged nine to 19 were told to spend eight hours without the Internet and gadgets such as TV or video game consoles.

By the halfway mark, all the participants had run out of things to do and had strong urges to look at their devices. Some even imagined they could feel their phones vibrating.

Dr Carol Balhetchet, a clinical psychologist and senior director for youth services at the Singapore Children's Society, says children and teenagers are drawn to modern technology.

She stated that as children were born into this new age, their world is completely different; full of gadgets and devices around. Naturally, children are attracted to vibrant colours and thus the interactivity of technology excites them.

Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, states that these devices have become transitional objects that give children of this generation, a sense of security and when taken away, causes them to feel anxious.

The experiment: Students spent 8 hours without the internet

Five students selected an eight-hour block of time -- 9am to 5pm for some, 2pm to 10pm for others, depending on school commitments.

During that period, they were not allowed to go on the Internet or use any gadgets, such as a phone, radio, television or video game console. They also had to stay home, but were allowed to interact with family members at home.

The results when students spent 8 hours without the internet

#1 Chu Jun Keat, 19

The Ngee Ann Polytechnic student first did some push-ups and planks. After taking a shower, he walked around his room, looking for a book to read. By the third hour, he got fidgety and instinctively glanced at his phone holder several times.

Jun Keat said: "It was so frustrating because every time I reached out for my phone, there was nothing. "I couldn't even contact my best friends because I hadn't memorised their numbers." By the seventh hour, he was pacing his room.

Once the experiment was over, he immediately turned on his iPhone and countless notifications poured in. He said: "I don't think I can live without technology… It's like being disconnected from everyone. "The first few hours were fine but after that, I felt like my world was crumbling down."

#2 Lesley Sim, 17

Lesley had a guitar, exercise equipment, some nail polish and food to keep herself occupied.

But within the first hour, she was struggling. She didn't have much option in choosing which songs to play on her guitar as most of the chords were in her phone. In the third hour, she changed into sports attire and got into a sit-up position, but hit a snag.

She said: "I need YouTube... I can't recall any routines because they're all stored in my phone."  She went on to exercise on her own and finally had dinner after two hours. She stated that food makes her feel so much better (in killing time).

Like the other participants, she was glued to her phone once the eighth hour was up. Lesley said: "When I heard the notifications from my phone earlier, I was crying on the inside. "I'm just going to text non-stop for the next few hours."

#3 Matthew Yeo, 17

The teenager, who just got accepted into Anderson Junior College, spent the first hour building a Nanoblock peacock.

But after that, he ran out of things to do since he had not planned out a schedule like the other participants. He said: "Usually, I'd be watching YouTube videos or the television. "I haven't even made it to the second hour and I'm so drained already."

In the third hour, he had an idea. Matthew said: "My first instinct was to Google 'What to do when you're bored', then I realised I couldn't use the Internet." Dejected, he rummaged through his collection of comics and began reading. He also napped for an hour.

By the seventh hour, he was wide awake, anxiously waiting for the time limit to be up. He said: "I'm looking forward to checking eight hours worth of Instagram and Snapchat. "At least I'm not that bored now that I've hit a stride with one of my books."

#4 Fatin Nazihah Awang, 14

When the Choa Chu Kang Secondary School student was told to write down how she was feeling, she confessed that she didn't even have a notebook as she takes down notes on her phone.

Within the first two hours of this experiment, she said she felt "vibrations" in her pocket even though her mother had taken away her mobile phone.

"I haven't checked Snapchat for two hours. I might not have anything to talk about with my friends in school tomorrow," was her dilemma.

By the halfway mark, she had opened her fridge at least 10 times, hoping to find something to eat to pass the time. Nazihah also constantly asked her mother for the time because she uses her phone as a watch.

By the seventh hour, she had cleaned her room, done some revision and even finished reading a book that she bought last year. Right after the experiment, she was glued to her phone and laptop for two hours.

#5 Thunk Kyal Sin Soe, 9

When the experiment started, The Fuhua Primary School student decided to take a nap to pass the time.

At the fourth hour, she took out some painting materials. She painted a myriad of things -- from the alphabets of her name to random shapes.

Thunk said: "Usually if there's no one or nothing to entertain me, I'll resort to technology. "I actually love painting so it doesn't matter if my phone's not around for now." By the end of the experiment, her family was surprised at how she managed to pull through without tears.

News Source: The New Paper

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Written by

Mizah Salik

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