Study: 80% of College Students Say They Text in Class

Most students in a recent survey say digital devices are distracting, but they use them anyway.
More
nSeika/Flickr

From the front of his classroom, University of Nebraska-Lincoln associate professor Barney McCoy noticed that students’ smart phones were making regular appearances during his classes. When he stood at the back of a colleague's class, he saw many students were using their laptops for non-academic purposes—Facebook, Twitter, and email were often open on students’ screens.

McCoy surveyed 777 college and graduate students in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, North Carolina, and Mississippi, asking about their use of digital devices. He found that almost a third of students used a digital device more than 11 times during classes for non-classroom related activities.

"I don't think students necessarily think it's problematic," McCoy said in a press release about the study. "They think it's part of their lives."

"It's become automatic behavior on the part of so many people—they do it without even thinking about it," he said.

Of the more than 90 percent of respondents who reported using digital devices during class, the vast majority said they were texting.

So, comparing these numbers to the overall survey pool, that means close to 80 percent of the students text in class sometimes.

The majority of the students admitted that using digital devices distracted them during class.

Furthermore, the majority of students said that other students using digital devices was a distraction.

Most professors have tried to limit this distraction: 70 percent of instructors have a policy regarding the use of digital devices in their classrooms. While 54 percent of students said they think there should be a policy on digital distractions in the classroom, only 9 percent of students think digital devices should be completely banned from classrooms.

 
Jump to comments
Presented by

Julia Ryan is a former producer for TheAtlantic.com.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in

Just In