Here's why checking your phone in class at all is impacting your grade
The fact that social media, cell phones, laptops and other technology affect the way students perform in the classroom is common knowledge, but some researchers are discovering more there than meets the eye.
Tweets and posts about plummeting grade point averages, failing classes and lack of motivation have become a regular occurrence, but many are wondering why.
Psychology professor Dr. Bryan Poole said he has noticed students’ ability to focus and pay attention is increasingly strained because of mobile technology use.
“Technology encourages distraction—not just for the user, but also for the students who can see others disengaging—in what should be a focused, interactive learning environment,” Poole said.
Looking at the time on a phone or reading a text message might not seem like it has major impact on the way students perform, but Poole and other professionals have observed a small but notable difference between students who use technology in class compared to those who do not.
“Students who scroll through messages and memes in class are usually those who are confused about the class material and score slightly lower on assignments and exams,” Poole said.
Research has repeatedly shown that students' engagement, attendance and GPA are typically lower when they constantly use technology.
Freshman health administration major Amy Friedl said the use of technology in the classroom has affected her performance in the classroom.
“Yes, I do use my phone and laptop,” Friedl said. “But I feel like I actually do better in classes where I don’t use technology.”
Technology, and everything that comes with it, does not only affect classroom performance, but also overall mental and physical health.
According to psychological researcher Jean Twenge, iGen—a nickname for the generation raised throughout the rise of technology and social media—is on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades due to their phones.
“Regular use of social media has been linked to higher social anxiety and depression, which is a rampant issue on college campuses, but not necessarily a cause,” Twenge said.
Though a majority of research on the effects of constant technology usage has been done on mental health, recent studies show that it can affect much more.
Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, a researcher for the Henry Ford Health System, led a study that aimed to find out whether Internet use might be a cause of high blood pressure in teens.
The researchers recruited 331 adolescents, aged 14 to 17, for the study. They reported to a lab where scientists measured each teen's BMI, blood pressure, height and weight. Nearly all of the teens had used the Internet during the week before their lab visit. Most also reported moderate to heavy Internet use.
“Four out of 10 teens used the Internet more than two hours every day. Nineteen percent of these heavy users had high blood pressure,” Cassidy-Bushrow said. “That’s compared to just seven percent of light users. Another four in ten teens reported moderate use. These teens had moderately high blood pressure.”
According to Cassidy-Bushrow, more research needs to be done, but she does suggest that education and training for teens, parents and teachers could help ensure that a healthy balance is found in their online life.
“That could go a long way in helping protect the health of people growing up in this digital age,” Cassidy-Bushrow said.
For more information on the study done by Cassidy-Bushrow, visit https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/internet-use-may-harm-teen-health.