Study Finds Nearby Phones, Even on Silent, May Increase Usage

Smartphones' mere presence can distract and lead to excessive use, negatively impacting academic performance. Banning phones in schools boosts mental well-being and academic gains, especially for girls from low-income backgrounds.

Trim Correspondents
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Study Finds Nearby Phones, Even on Silent, May Increase Usage

Study Finds Nearby Phones, Even on Silent, May Increase Usage

A recent study suggests that simply having a phone nearby, even if it is set to silent mode, can lead to increased phone usage. The research indicates that the mere presence of a phone can be distracting and result in more frequent phone checking, even when the device is not actively being used.

The findings have implications for academic performance, as excessive phone use during study or learning activities can negatively impact focus and efficiency. Educators and policymakers are advised to consider these results when providing guidance to students on effective cellphone use in educational settings.

The study, conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, examined the impact of a smartphone ban in Norwegian schools. It found that the ban reduced the number of consultations for psychological symptoms and diseases among girls, lowered the incidence of bullying for both girls and boys, and led to academic gains for girls, including higher GPAs and increased likelihood of attending an academic high school track. The benefits were more pronounced for girls from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Why this matters: The study highlights the pervasive influence of smartphones on our daily lives and the potential negative consequences of excessive usage, particularly in educational settings. The findings underscore the importance of setting boundaries and promoting responsible phone use to support mental well-being and academic success.

Teachers in the Goldendale School District have observed the effects of increased screen time and phone usage on student behavior, such as lack of attention, empathy, and language development, as well as irregular sleep patterns and a disconnect from reality. The article emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries on electronics and replacing screen time with activities that promote real-life interaction, imagination, and physical activity to help students develop necessary skills and improve their mental health and social behavior.

A separate study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that while a natural ability to be mindful can reduce the risk of excessive smartphone use, the habit of avoiding distressing situations can increase it by about 25%. "The study reveals the complex interplay between psychological traits and interactions with technology," the researchers noted. They suggest that working on these psychological variables could help reduce smartphone overuse.

Key Takeaways

  • Mere presence of phone, even silenced, can increase usage and distract from tasks.
  • Excessive phone use in education negatively impacts focus and academic performance.
  • School phone bans reduced psychological issues, bullying, and improved academic outcomes for girls.
  • Increased screen time linked to student behavior issues, like lack of attention and empathy.
  • Mindfulness can reduce excessive smartphone use, while avoidance of distress increases it.