Everyone has a cell phone these days, right?
Cell phones used to be just for communication, but times have changed. We now use our cell phones for literally everything we do during the day: games, calendars, workout apps, research, sports updates, reading, photography, finance, etc.
Studies show that 90 percent of college students own a cell phone. How do cell phones affect a students academic performance, or does it affect it at all?
PLoS One did a study on college students comparing the time a student typically spent on his cell phone compared to how fit he/she was. The study found that students spent about 300 minutes every day on their cell phones (that equals out to five hours per day). The students that use their phones continually were less fit than the ones that used their phones less frequently.
Television and computer games also provide distractions for college aged students. The difference between other electronic devices and cell phones is that cell phones are highly accessible (usually in our pockets) when a student has free time so the cell phone is an easy distraction.
Another survey was done by Kent State University researchers with more than 500 college students. The researchers asked the students if their daily cell phone use affected their anxiety or happiness levels. The results showed that the more the students used their cell phones, the more anxiety they had and the lower their grades were. The students that limited their cell phone use were much more satisfied with their lives overall.
Other studies have shown that college students check their cell phones between one and five times during the course of a class period, usually while the teacher is writing on the board or during group activities.
According to The Atlantic via, Seattle Pi, cell phone use is affecting students’ cognitive thinking abilities. They are reporting that attention spans have become shorter and that student’s are using the phone for all kinds of “quick fix” information so they don’t have to think on their own.
A University of Rhode Island study says that cell phones are also causing destructive behavior. “Sexting” is becoming more popular with college-age students and the study found that 68 percent of students have sent a “sexting” message, with explicit photos and messages.
Cell phones do have a plus side, though. They are a college student’s link to home, family, and friends. College can be scary and a freshman in college usually talks to family up to 13 times a week. This support and need to communicate with parents and other family members is important for a college student’s success.
Another advantage of cell phones in class is the ability to find information on the go. Sometimes, computer’s aren’t available so a student’s cell phone can be used in a pinch or if the class is having an activity outdoors.
Do you agree that cell phones decrease academic performance or do you think that they are an asset to students?
[Photo via shutterstock]