Saturday, October 9, 2010

Going Without a Cell Phone for 31 Hours

                In some ways, escaping from my cell phone was quite nice.  I did not have to worry about being rude while getting a text and reading it in the middle of a conversation, nor did feel… forgotten because nobody had sent me a text in _____ hours.  That however, was the only real escape I felt from my phone being turned off for 31 hours.  I felt completely disconnected from the world (both at home across the country, and at UNCSA).  I had no way to really contact a majority of my friends, and I couldn’t text somebody quickly to double check my schedule for the day.  After not using my phone, I realized how reliant I am upon technology.  I realized that if I had to go another 31 hours without my phone, I might die a little inside, and if my computer was snatched away from me as well, I would be in for a real challenge.  Many teenagers in our society have grown quite dependent upon modern technology, not realizing that twenty years ago, the difficulties we see with not having a cell phone for a day, would not have been a big deal.  Past teenagers would not have even known how to text message a friend if you’re in the middle of an awkward situation, and they would not have thought to whip out their phone to text another friend to come and save them from that same situation.  Our generation has grown to be extremely reliant upon modern technology.  For my day without my phone (Tuesday night at eight o’clock to Thursday morning), I did not have my usual luxury of an alarm on my phone waking me up.  Instead, my roommate’s alarm clock did the trick.  Several seconds after waking up, I didn’t check my phone to see if somebody had texted me in the middle of the night.   During the time I had my arts classes on Wednesday though, I didn’t really need my phone.  Yes, I did go and check the dance boards a few extra times to make sure I was going to the right studio (instead of texting someone to double check for me), but really the only inconvenience that was to me was walking a few extra feet.  Night time however, was when things got difficult.  After pointe, I had to set off to dinner without texting to see if some of my friends in a different class were eating as well.  Going to the Humans Vs. Zombies meeting, I had to look around for people to sit by, instead of texting or calling someone to find out where they were.  I couldn’t text my parents, my sister, or friends back at home to see how their day went, and I couldn’t set my alarm to wake myself up the next morning.  Waking up on Thursday morning though, I turned on my phone and found out that I had nine new unread text messages, and yes, several of those were from the same person wondering why I hadn’t responded yet.  For today however, I am back with my dear phone, and very glad to be.

Do You Know Your Neighbors?

     Above is a picture we took of the new neighborhood notice the SUPER busy street with lots and lots of cars....                                    

To assess the social capital of suburban neighborhoods, we interviewed 20 houses in two neighborhoods in Cary, North Carolina.  The first was a newly built neighborhood of town homes, the second, a neighborhood of houses built in the 90's.

We asked each house these three questions:

1) Do you know the names of both your next-door neighbors?
2) About how often have you had them over to your house?  (within the past year or two)
3) How often (on average) does you or your family carpool with others during the week?

Check out some of our results:

 In the newer neighborhood:

70% know at least one of their neighbors' names.

50% had never had their neighbor over to their house.

70% never carpool during the week.

In the older neighborhood:

100% know the names of both their neighbors.

50% have their neighbors over more than 5 times a year.

50% carpool everyday.

We found that in the newer neighborhood of town homes, neighbors really did not know each other, and social capital was very low.  There was no one outside the houses, and cars were locked inside garages.  The people who came to the door were mainly young single adults, or more elderly men.  In the older, more established neighborhood, kids were playing in the streets while parents sat on front porches.  Most people claimed to carpool, and many regularly had neighbors over for dinner.  Social capital in this neighborhood was very high.  From this, we were able to conclude that within demographics where there are large families, social capital is much higher than in a community of single working adults.