How much time do you think you spent on your phone last week? Chances are your guess is less than the actual amount. But why?
The answer is one of the many graduate students at Norfolk State University, a Historically Black College, are trying to figure out as part of its cyberpsychology master's course, the first of its kind in the country.
NSU enrolled its first graduate students in the course in 2020.
"Everything is connected. Social psychology is a part of cyberpsychology. We could even say cognitive neuroscience could be a part of cyberpsychology and so all of these things sort of come together," said Marnee McClellan, a graduate student in the program.
The master's degree is trying to better understand the symbiotic relationship we have with technology, whether it is phones, computers, or gaming platforms. Currently, students and professor Scott Debb, who started and teaches the course, are researching FOMO- the fear of missing out- and how it might differ over social media rather than in-person.
"Being able to discuss this and being able to learn about it more is really important because cyberpsychology really gets to the crux of people and technology," said McClellan.
"There were no jobs, and still right now, no jobs that say we need someone with a cyberpsychology master's degree," said Scott. "It just doesn't exist, but the skills and what people are looking for exist all over the place."
Scott says worldwide there is only one undergraduate course in this field and one doctoral program. It means the research at Norfolk State could not just give us answers, but shape how other researchers approach their work.
Their hope is to create a better understanding of technology so businesses can utilize it in ways that allows their employees to be more productive and perhaps less addicted.