Cellphones May Compromise Academic Achievement

Great.  Our kids' addiction to cell phones has not only turned them into automatons who only respond when the house is on fire, have helped them lose all social graces and can now break up in a text.  But a new study says their addiction may now lead to academic failure, as well.

According to newswise.com, women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men college students spend nearly eight, with excessive use posing potential risks for academic performance.

A new study notes that approximately 60 percent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cell phone, and some indicated they get agitated when it is not in sight, according to researcher James Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

The study — based on an online survey of 164 college students — examined 24 cellphone activities and found that time spent on 11 of those activities differed significantly across the sexes. Some functions — among them Pinterest and Instagram — are associated significantly with cellphone addiction. But others that might logically seem to be addictive – Internet use and gaming — were not.

The study also found that, of the top activities, respondents overall reported spending the most time texting (an average of 94.6 minutes a day), followed by sending emails (48.5 minutes), checking Facebook (38.6 minutes), surfing the Internet (34.4 minutes) and listening to their iPods. (26.9 minutes).

In addition, men send about the same number of emails but spend less time on each. “That may suggest that they’re sending shorter, more utilitarian messages than their female counterparts,” Roberts said, while women spend more time on their cellphones. While that finding runs somewhat contrary to the traditional view that men are more invested in technology, “women may be more inclined to use cellphones for social reasons such as texting or emails to build relationships and have deeper conversations.”

Also, the men in the study, while more occupied with using their cellphones for utilitarian or entertainment purposes, “are not immune to the allure of social media,” Roberts said. They spent time visiting such social networking sites as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Among reasons they used Twitter were to follow sports figures, catch up on the news — “or, as one male student explained it, ‘waste time,’” Roberts said.

"Cellphones may wind up being an escape mechanism from their classrooms. For some, cellphones in class may provide a way to cheat,” Roberts said. Excessive or obsessive cellphone use also can cause conflict inside and outside the classroom: with professors, employers and families. And “some people use a cellphone to dodge an awkward situation. They may pretend to take a call, send a text or check their phones,” Roberts said.

Like those people who break up in a text.

Finally, Roberts notes that cellphones provide a real conundrum.  They're "freeing and enslaving at the same time."


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