Texting leading cause of distraction in classes

Texting tops the list of distractions inside the classroom.

19-6-_Page_11_textinginclassKylie Cook

Contributing writer

It’s well-known that technology has drastically improved over the years, making devices more modern and easy to access. These updates have caught the eyes of teenagers during the last 10 years. On average, high school and college students now are texting more than 2,000 times a day.

According to some physicians and psychologists, texting is leading to anxiety and distraction in school, which can cause failing grades.

Professors find texting in class offensive and an example of poor behavior. Most college professors make their cell phone policy clear in the opening days of the quarter, and by also noting it in the syllabus.

Communications professor Nikki Poppen-Eagan has a simple cell phone policy stated in her syllabus: cell phones can be tolerated until made a distraction. This policy allows students to use their phones quietly, unless it becomes an issue to the student or those around them.

It’s no question that students in a middle or high school environment can get away with texting during class. But what happens when a student is on a college campus, and professors do not have the right to discipline for cellphone use?

Although professors may make their cellphone policy clear, it isn’t stopping students from taking a peek at their social media. Many students want to be involved in every aspect of their friends’ lives, and they fear missing something important. But this drive to be constantly informed is starting to affect students’ grades, and sleep schedule.

“I will admit I am on my phone a lot during class. A lot of the time I do it without even thinking,” Pierce College student Drew Main says.

College students often stay up late only to communicate with someone.

Because of this urge of being in constant contact with their friend or partner, they feel the need to reply instantly. This could be affecting how alert they are in the classroom.

“I usually lay in bed on my phone until about 12:20 a.m. either texting or just surfing all the different social media apps. I do believe that it affects how I perform in school, and convinces me to think it is okay to text during class, because I do it every other minute of the day,” Main says.

Although not all students are struggling with this problem, some admit to letting this distraction take over during their day.

Second-year student Morgan Noorwood, 19, often finds herself taken away by the media.

“My first year on campus was calm, regarding my phone usage. I didn’t use it much since,” Noorwood says. “I came straight from a high school where cellphones were not tolerated. Now as I have gotten more comfortable in the classroom, I catch myself texting during lectures much more often.”

Few students don’t find cell phones distracting in class.

Student Brandi Stokes said her phone usage doesn’t reflect on her grades.

“Personally, I can use my phone, and listen at the same time. I know some would disagree with me, but I believe it isn’t a distraction. My phone keeps me calm and if I glance at it a few times during class, I still believe my brain is paying attention to my professor.” Stokes says.

Cell phones, iPads and tablets have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade. The ability to surf the Internet and find information anywhere they are located is appealing to the college student audience. More than 80 percent of college students own a laptop or tablet, making working on-the-go or outside of home simple.

Student Alexus Ibarra believes she wouldn’t be the student she is today without her laptop and cellphone.

“It’s so easy for me if I am in a hurry or on campus to look up information. I don’t have to call anyone, or find a specific person with information. I just type it into the search box and go on with my life,” Ibarra says.

“My laptop is everything to me; I store tons of information and pictures on it,” Ibarra


A University of Phoenix study released in 2012 found that texting constantly is hurting college students’ education. Results found that students who text during lectures send an average of 2.4 texts and read 2.6 during each class and are more likely to miss out on instruction and score lower grades as a result. Bonnie Ellis is a public speaking coach and director of academic affairs for the University of Phoenix, Detroit campus. She believes it’s easy. If students are texting, they aren’t listening.

What can be done to solve this problem?

A few University of Phoenix professors came up with a solution. A majority of them believe there needs to be a shift in college culture to send a clear message that it’s not alright to have cellphones out in the classroom.

They believe it’s similar to texting and driving, and needs to be treated that way. When cell phones became popular, people didn’t realize how dangerous it was to text and drive, so reporters made it very public with the goal of saving lives. Texting in class is similar but different. It is dangerous to students’ mental stability, and if media treat it as a serious issue, similar to how they treated texting and driving, a change could be made.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Texting leading cause of distraction in classes

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