Some 67% of first-year University of Virginia students own an iPod, according to the school’s annual technology survey. For the past 10 years, U.Va. has questioned every new student about the technology they bring to school—from their operating system to game console. In addition to the iPod usage, this year’s survey of 3,092 students also found that 20% of first-years are using Macs, which is up from just 3% in 2002.
“The question is, what is it taking the place of?” said UVa sociology professor Allison Pugh of the iPod. “If it is replacing a game of pick-up basketball, then the university is a poorer place because of their prevalence. If students are using iPods to drown out dorm noise so they can study, say, or to entertain themselves when they go running, then iPods aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Studies show that young people spend almost 2.5 hours listening to music every day. iPods are probably tapping right into that culture.”