How Our Phones are Messing with Our Grades

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How Our Phones are Messing with Our Grades

Lindsay Piotter

Lindsay Piotter

Lindsay Piotter

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor

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The image of heads lowered and eyes glued to a cellular phone has become synonymous with millennials and generation Z’s. College students especially have become obsessed with the constant distraction their cell phones provide, at a steep cost to our attention spans. Being able to concentrate on challenging tasks is an imperative part of success in college, but our phones just may be robbing us of that ability and consequently lowering our grades.  

A 2015 article on by Kevin McSpadden describes a Microsoft Corporation study that found a dip in attention span. “Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.”

It’s not difficult to see how the inability to focus could negatively affect college students’ overall performance. A lack of focus can make it harder to study for tests, get through assigned readings, devote the proper amount of time to completing homework assignments and so on.

Technology has its benefits, including improving our ability to multitask, but we must also be able to recognize when it’s doing more harm than good. Refraining from becoming too engrossed in our phones is important if we want to give ourselves the best chance of doing well in school.

While spending too much time checking Snapchat is unlikely to lead to flunking out of college, it still can have a negative impact on our grades. Excessive phone usage could be the difference between an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ on a midterm exam or not doing as well as you wanted to on an important paper.

The negative impact spending too much time on our phones can have on sleep patterns should also be noted. Getting an appropriate amount of sleep is necessary in order to stay healthy and perform at our best in school. We don’t want our phones to get in the way of that.

Life can oftentimes make it hard for us to do well in school. There are many things that can happen that we have no control over that will make it difficult or impossible for us to focus on school work. That makes it all the more important to keep a firm grip on the things we do have control over.   

Learning how to wisely spend time is a big part of the college experience. In today’s society, that includes knowing when to log out of Instagram, put the phone down and get some work done.

The allure of the everpresent distraction phones give us may seem impossible to overcome, but there are ways to take back your attention span. Apps like ‘Forest’ and ‘Moment’ help motivate you to stay off your phone and keep track of your screen time.

Finding more productive ways to spend time when bored is also a good way to strengthen concentration skills. Hobbies such as listening to podcasts, reading and playing an instrument can all help to lessen the pull of social media.

In desperate times, it may also be hugely beneficial to delete social media apps you know are distractions. If those apps are causing anxiety, that can be another culprit of low concentration.

Achieving good grades in college can lead to many great opportunities. Every college student knows the challenges that come with keeping our grades up. So we should be mindful of making it even harder for ourselves by overusing our cellphones.


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