Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania has taken steps to block access to Facebook and other social networking sites such as Twitter and also to IM applications.
The ban lasted for just one week in what a senior manager calls an “academic exercise” that will make students question why they feel the need to use them so frequently.
The manager in question, Eric Darr, was inspired to embark upon the experiment while observing his daughter’s avid use of such applications.
“A Sixteen-year-old, she has Facebook, iTunes, and IM windows up simultaneously, having multiple conversations on her iPhone with friends, and then kind of witnessing some of that same behaviour in the students at Harrisburg University [got me] thinking, you know, what if that wasn’t there?”
The ban has received mixed reactions. Some students were pleasantly surprised to find that they could focus much easier without the distraction of social media, whereas others were outraged and used proxy sites to circumvent the firewall or nipped to the nearby Hilton hotel to borrow its wireless access instead.
However Darr maintains that he is not meting out punishment to his students.
Instead, he is forcing the experiment onto them to see how they will react to “social media exile”, about which, of course, they will be writing essays at the end of the week.

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