New Study Says Cellphones Are to Blame for Failing Grades

New Study Says Cellphones Are to Blame for Failing Grades

Students who used smartphones in or laptops in class scored lower on tests.

You know your kids are addicted to tech, but you might not know how harmful that dependency can be. A new study suggests that using electronic devices can lower students' grades.

In a study published in the journal Educational Psychology, researchers divided 118 upper-level college students into two groups. Both groups were enrolled in the same course and were taught the same material by the same instructor in the same classroom at roughly the same time of day. The big difference: One group was allowed to use laptops and cell phones for non-classroom purposes.

The group using devices scored lower on exams by about a half a letter grade. In some cases, this was the difference between passing and failing. Students who didn't use a device but were in the same classroom with those who did also scored lower.

"These finding should alert the many dedicated students and instructors that dividing attention is having an insidious effect that is impairing their exam performance and final grade," Arnold Glass, PhD, the lead researcher for the study and a professor of psychology at Rutgers University, told ABC News.

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This new study is just one in a long list of recent studies that highlight the way smartphones can actually hinder productivity. In 2016, one study found that just the presence of a cell phone impaired performance on tests. In another study, 80 percent of students admitted the use of technology, whether their own or that of a classmate, in the classroom negatively affected their ability to pay attention.