Cellphone Culture: Collegians Spending A Fifth Of Classroom Time On Their Phones Instead Of Learning

We are living on a generation dominated by cellphones. These tiny electronic devices are like our appendages and something feels terribly missing if they are not in our hands. While cell phones carry a lot of weight in our lives, their misuse is increasing at an alarming rate.

A new study shows that the college students are wasting about a fifth of their academic time on cell phones or any other digital devices.

The study was carried out by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. According to the reports, almost 9 out of 10 students admitted to texting as being their main diversion while studying in class.

The details of the study includes that about three-quarters say they had emailed or checked the time on their phones while 70-percent reported spending their time browsing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In that sample size, nearly half of the student reported surfing the web, and one in 10 spent class time playing games.

The researchers conducted their experiment with 675 students attending colleges and universities across 26 states of United States during 2015 to arrive at the conclusion.

In an interview with the magazine Health Day, the study’s main author, Barney McCoy had the following to say.

“Most of us love technology, And we want it to benefit us. But technology also affords a view that can be distracting”

McCoy serves as an associate professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Students think they can multitask, but, according to the detailed study published in The Teaching Professor in January 2012, using a structured study design they found the following.

“Students who use their mobile phones during class lectures tend to write down less information, recall less information, and perform worse on a multiple-choice test than those students who abstain from using their mobile phones during class.” (p. 251).

While the researchers agree that about 5 percent of the students can actually multitask, according to Maryellen Weimer, students are way too convinced that multitasking is a great way to work. They think they can do two or three tasks simultaneously and not compromise the quality of what they produce.

The studies suggest that students might have severely overrated their skill of multitasking. In an experiment involving 62 undergraduate students taking a principles of accounting course, half of the cohort was allowed use their cellphone to text during a lecture and other half were made to completely switch their phones off. As soon as the lecture was over, both groups took the same quiz and the students who did not use their cellphones scored significantly higher on the quiz.

According to Faultyfocus, A group of 774 students responded to a survey which documented that the majority of them engaged in classroom multitasking. Their multitasking had a profound effect to their lower GPA and subsequently to an increase in risk behaviors including use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

The fault of technology is severely exposed in the students’ diversion to cell phone screens from their professor’s board. While it’s certain that the students are hideously spending their time on cell phones, the question becomes how do professors put an end to this? Maryellen Weimer, who has a lot of research believes the following.

“We can tell them they shouldn’t (use their cellphones). We can include policies that aim to prevent it and devote time and energy trying to implement them. I wonder if it isn’t smarter to confront students with the facts. Not admonitions, but concrete evidence that multitasking compromises their efforts to learn.”

[Photo By Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]

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