How distracted are high school teens these day by cell phone interruptions in classes?
The answer is distracted potentially to an overwhelming degree.
Mrs. Major’s four Senior Project classes and one Journalism class participated in a 25 minute “electronic distraction observation” recently.
104 students in five classes all participated.
Students were asked to identify anything on cell phones that could possibly disrupt their train of thought during class, specifically applications or programs that sent notifications which buzzed silently or dinged noisily. Phone calls and e-mails were included, which is ironic, because many students said it was typically guardians and bosses that called or texted them during school hours.
Once a master list of distracting phone possibilities was compiled, students listed their own personal cell phone distractions. Then everyone was asked to place their cell phones visibly on their desks and ringers were turned on high. Students tally marked their list every time they received a notification.
As an extra distraction, students were reminded that while they are not allowed to be on phones while at school, if they answered the text or social media interaction during the observation, they had to record those interactions as well.
Are you ready for the results?
During a 25 minute time span, 104 students received 1,210 electronic distractions, be that phone calls, texts, or notifications. And in that 25 minutes, 643 responses were sent despite knowing the school rule is no cell phone use in class.
While Mrs. Major’s students knew there would be no disciplinary repercussions for responding during the digital observation, many students know this is not the norm in other classes and yet cannot resist the urge to respond.
1853 distractions combined among 104 students equates to an average of 17.8 distractions per student in an average 25 minute span. Obviously we know some students only received one to three distractions, while other students would have been so busy checking phones and sending responses, they could hardly get any classwork done.
That’s 1.4 distractions per minute per student on average.
And adults think they can’t concentrate at work?
We asked students what they thought about being distracted.
Imy, “I never use Twitter, but it’s sends me at least 25 notifications a day. Other notifications that go off all day is my Instagram and Snapchat. One other app. I use is Netflix.”
Eunice, “My phone tends to distract me to the fact that I get little to no work done. If I get a message or a notification, I tend to go to another social media platform and began to be even more distracted. I noticed the one day I did not have my phone, I got all my work done.”
London, “I do believe kids are being more and more distracted by phones, especially in school when they should be doing class work. I have multiple classes where are aren’t allowed to have our phones out in class, which creates more time for face to face interaction, group work and more learned during class time. I know I find myself watching YouTube while I’m doing my class work; sometimes I find myself getting caught up on what’s on my phone instead of doing vocab. or a worksheet like the multi-tasker I think I am.”
Linnette, ” Well, I do agree with this information, because I get so distracted with my phone everyday. I can be in class and my phone goes off, and I check it almost every 15 minutes. It seems like it’s not that bad at first, but it becomes like an addiction.”
Paige, “Since I am a post-millennial, the Internet was what I grew up with. At times, having a computer or phone on hand is a life saver, but most of the time its just a distraction. I genuinely feel like I’m not learning, because anything I need to know, I can figure it out with one Google search. Having a phone by my side is a distraction, because I am constantly getting notifications and the second I get bored, I run to my phone as an escape.
Many students were not distracted with phones visibly and audibly distracting them throughout their day.
Kayla, “I don’t use my phone constantly. I keep it on my desk though, mostly I just use it for music.”
Trevor, “Hay Day sends me way too many notifications.”
Breyton, “I don’t really consider my phone a distraction because at the end of the day, I’m at 50 %. This means I’m rarely ever on my phone. Frankly, I live by this quote ‘Conceal it, don’t feel it. Don’t let it show.'” – Elsa
Reyes, “I mostly use my phone just to hear music only and very rarely do I answer people. I do review the notifications I get but answer about half an hour later or so. Most of the time I have my phone out on the desk but don’t touch it, unless I want to change the song.