When they should be
listening to their instructors, today's college students are instead using
their phones or tablets 11 times per day while in class, a new study contends.
More than 80% of students in the US said
they knew that such use of smartphones, tablets and laptops can interfere with
their learning and more than a quarter said their grades suffer as a result,
according to the survey of nearly 800 students at six universities in five
"I don't think
students necessarily think it's problematic," study author Barney McCoy,
an associate professor of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln,
said in a university news release.
"They think it's part of their
Overall, 35% of the students
interviewed said they used digital devices for non-classroom purposes one to
three times per day, another 27% did so four to 10 times per day, 16% did so 11
to 30 times per day and 15% did so more than 30% a day.
The study found that only 8% said they never
used devices for non-classroom purposes while in class.
Nearly 86% of students said
they were texting; 68% said they were checking email; 66% said they were using
social networks; 38% said they were surfing the internet and 8% said they were
playing a game during class.
McCoy said he had been surprised to find that 79% of
the students used their digital devices to check the time.
"That's a generational
thing to me -- a lot of young people don't wear watches," he said.
Students said the most
common disadvantages of using digital devices for non-educational purposes
while in the classroom were not paying attention (90%), missing instruction
(80%), being reprimanded by the instructor (32%) and losing grade points (more
than 25% ).
Less than 5% of students considered
it a "very big" or "big" distraction when classmates used
digital devices and less than 5% believed their own use of a digital device to
be a "very big" or "big" distraction.
More than half, however,
said they were a "little" distracted when classmates used digital
devices and nearly 46% said they were a "little" distracted by their
own use of digital devices. Less than 17% said the use of digital devices was
not a distraction.
The Nemours Foundation offers teens tips for going to college.