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)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

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

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in

Just In