You know you text too much when…

By Joshua Henry

How much time do you spend exercising your thumbs on the keypad of your mobile phone? If your answer is a lot, researchers may have an interest in you.

Psychology professors at Wilkes University recently conducted a study of the extent of texting during class by college students. Their findings concluded that:

  • 95 percent of students bring their cellular phones to class
  • 91% have used their phones to text during class
  • 99% believe they should be allowed to have their phones in class, and
  • 62% believe they should be allowed to text in class.

It’s shocking that so many students believe they should be allowed to text in class. Not only does it divert the attention of the texting student away from the material being taught, it poses a distraction to others (75% of surveyed students) and encourages the development of other bad habits – texting while driving, texting in a meeting, texting while talking on the phone, texting while talking to someone in person, etc. Moreover, 10% of survey respondents admitted to texting during an exam, and 3% admitted to texting exam information to other students – in other words, cheating.

Texting is going to be prevalent on any college campus nowadays, and it’s likely to happen in most if not all classrooms. But there are traits to keep in mind if you’re a prospective student who wants to avoid such distractions. Small classes in which the instructor regularly engages in discussion with students minimize the extent to which texting occurs.

So pay attention to the average class size when visiting or researching a school. Learn about the academic experiences of first-year through fourth-year students. And note the layout of the typical classroom. Tiered lecture halls or rooms in which the seats are spread far from where a professor would stand lessen the attention a professor can dedicate to each individual student. Conversely, smaller classes arranged in circles that allow professors to roam around are an indication that students will be more involved in the lecture and given less opportunity to sneak their cell phones out of their pockets or purses.
Cell phones are amazing devices that serve useful and new purposes every day. But it doesn’t seem like too much to ask for college students to divert their attention away from their phones for the 50 or 80 straight minutes in which they are in class. A little restraint may make the difference between a good and not-so-good grade, and shows a little courtesy to professors and fellow students.

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