In-depth: Students cannot use cell phones and study effectively

by Bryce Johnson
edited by Aaron Santini

Students and their cellphones are almost inseparable, but students who are constantly “plugged in” suffer the consequences in their academic performance.

According to a study by Kent State University , students who frequently use their cell phones tend to have a lower GPA than those who do not use them as often. The study also showed that students who use their cell phones often tend to experience more anxiety and were less happy.


Senior Renee Reid, a Peer Writing Center Tutor, said, “When I am tutoring students that are trying to multitask with cell phones they are distracted, they aren’t listening to what I have to say and they are generally disengaged.”

Cell phones are not just distracting students outside the classroom when studying, but also interferers in the classroom as well.

“As cell phone use in class goes up, test scores go down. Just as higher cell phone use predicts lower test scores, lower cell phone use also predicts higher scores,” a piece by Longwood University reported. “Cell phone use in class is significantly and negatively related to grades, and it is significant regardless of grade-point average.”

piece by the BBC stated similar results from a separate study. The study had two groups of students watch a video lecture. One group had no distractions, while the other group had phones and were sent a variety of texts. At the end the group without distractions scored significantly higher on a multiple choice test on the material covered in the video because they were better able to recall information.

Senior math tutor Matt Dresselhouse said in an email interview, “may be a problem that students are just taking notes in class and are texting, resulting in them having notes but not learning/retaining any information, which is why they come to me.”

Reid said, “In class, they (other students) will miss things such as what will be on a test and when they ask me about it after class, I am disinclined to tell them because they missed it and it was their own fault.” She added, “I think there is a time and place for phone and internet use… if it is used to help understand something then they help.”


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