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BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones follows Unplugged

Students Elliott Day, Caroline Scott and Charlotte Gay interviewed by the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones

The BBC’s Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, visited BU yesterday to film students taking part in the ‘Unplugged’ experiment

The BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, visited Bournemouth University (BU) yesterday to meet students attempting the ‘Unplugged’ challenge by going 24 hours without media.

First year BA (Hons) Multi-Media Journalism students, Caroline Scott, Charlotte Gay and Elliott Day, shared their struggle with Rory as they sacrificed television, mobile phones, iPods and the internet for this global media experiment.

Rory said: “They live in an age where everything is conducted on the fly with these new forms of technology and it’s going to be really hard for them. We’ve been seeing that already – just arranging to meet them is pretty complicated! So I think it’s a very useful experiment but it also highlights how addicted we can become to these forms of technology.”

BU students are the only UK students involved in ‘Unplugged’. It is a collaboration between universities and researchers from five continents - Europe, North America, South America, Asia, & Africa – examining young people's relationships with the media.

A pilot study conducted by Professor Susan Moeller in the US last year revealed some astounding results, including withdrawal symptoms similar to drug or alcohol addiction.

Students are recording their experiences in short, blog-style essays and questionnaires. But how will the findings be used?

BU’s Dr Roman Gerodimos is leading ‘Unplugged’ in the UK. He said: “At an educational level it could benefit our learning and teaching strategies, but it could also make us more sensitive to young people's needs for socialisation and awareness. Subsequently, this experiment could inform the way we develop technologies and media applications for young people and especially for particular demographic groups, such as students who live away from home.  The issue of digital inequalities (or "the digital divide") is also very important as the experiment can enhance our understanding of how students from different backgrounds access the media.”

Rory’s broadcast is expected to appear on BBC breakfast and News 24 on Friday 22 October 2010.

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