In today’s society, smartphones have become a part of everyday life. Over the years, numerous scientists have gained interest in the notion of the use of smartphones (which includes social media and/or texting) and its effects on the individual socially and academically. Specifically, since the 1980s, the use of cellphones and smartphones among young adults has been on the rise (Harman & Sato, 2011). Henceforth, young adults have become dependent on their cellphones, which has caused many disadvantages in their social and academic lives (Harman & Sato, 2011; Hassel & Sukalich, 2016; Dayapoglu, Kavurmaci, & Karaman, 2016). Specifically, young adults have been widely studied, due to the fact that they were one of the highest demographics to use their smartphones daily, as a result, experiencing the most negative outcomes (Harman & Sato, 2011; Hassel & Sukalich, 2016; Peiro-Velert et al. , 2014). Although, the exact role in which smartphones play on academic performance was not yet clearly identified. Thus, the current study investigated how spending more time on one’s smartphone (particularly on social media and/or texting) increases or decreases academic performance?
Academic Performance and Smartphone Use
Over the years, smartphone use has been on the rise, as a result of the increased use of social media and text messaging, which has caused numerous negative effects on society (Harman & Sato, 2011; Hassel & Sukalich, 2016). Specifically, “any excessive, habitual use of or addiction to any media [including cellphones] will generally result in negative consequences for individuals” (Hassel & Sukalich, 2016, p. 2). This emphasized that young adults have become so accustom to using their smartphones that there have been impediments on their life satisfaction, due to their need for their smartphone (Hassel & Sukalich, 2016). Hassel and Sukalich (2016) aimed to determine how the use of smartphones (particularly social media) had impacted the lives of college students, with regards to their academic performance and behaviours. The researchers tested 234 university students from a university in the United States of America, by using self-report surveys, in order to determine the role of social media in their lives, their individual behaviours, as well as their academic performance (Hassel & Sukalich, 2016). It was mentioned that at the college level, rather than focusing strictly on the lecture, young adults are on their smartphones or other electronic devices (Hassel & Sukalich, 2016). Thus, the researchers found that the use of smartphones (particularly social media) had a negative effect on one’s academic performance, as well as their attitudes towards academia (Hassel & Sukalich, 2016). There was also a negative effect on overall life satisfaction with regards to decreased academic performance, as a result of increased social media usage in young adults (Hassel & Sukalich, 2016).
Likewise, in a relevant study, Harman and Sato (2011) examined how university students’ cellphone use was related to their academic performance. The researchers studied 118 undergraduate students, between the ages of 18 to 39, by completing a self-report survey (Harman & Sato, 2011). Certain categories of questions asked in the survey as part of the research design included: “Average number of people text messaged per day”; “Average number of sent/received text messages per day”; and “Comfort text messaging in class”, as well as many other questions (Harman & Sato, 2011). Thus, it was found that there was a negative effect on academic performance (overall grade point average), due to an increased amount of time spent texting (Harman & Sato, 2011). Specifically, a decrease in academic performance was related to the amount of text messages sent and received (Harman & Sato, 2011). Additionally, in a similar study conducted by Dayapoglu, Kavurmaci, and Karaman (2016) investigated how using a cellphone challenged the social and academic aspects of life, specifically in a student nurse sample of 353 participants. In order to collect the data, the researchers gave participants a 4-part questionnaire, which assessed their social and academic skills (Dayapoglu, Kavurmaci, & Karaman, 2016). The results demonstrated that student nurses who used their cellphones more often experienced various negative repercussions, which included an increased sense of lonesomeness, as well as decreased overall academic success (Dayapoglu, Kavurmaci, & Karaman, 2016). With regards to this literature, it was evident that smartphone use negatively impacted the lives of young adults, due to their decreased academic performance, as well as various other negative consequences.
Gender and Smartphone Use
Moreover, gender difference were present with regards to male and female smartphone use. In a study conducted by Perio-Velert and colleagues (2014), the researchers aimed to determine how the use of cellphones was related to both male and female sleeping habits, as well as academic performance. A large sample size of 3,095 Spanish participants were studied, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old, in order to collect data on this topic (Perio-Velert et al. , 2014). The researchers tested these participants using questionnaires with 15 predisposed variables, in order to gain insight on the differences between males and females (Perio-Velert et al. , 2014). The results depicted that males were more likely to use their cellphones to play games, whereas females were more likely to use their cellphones to communicate with their friends (Perio-Velert et al. , 2014). With regards to sleeping, on average, females slept more than males (Perio-Velert et al. , 2014). Additionally, females also had higher academic outcomes compared to males, due to the fact that they were getting more sleep and spending less time on their cellular devices compared to males (Perio-Velert et al. , 2014). Ultimately, these gender differences demonstrated how increased sleep and decreased cellphone usage led to an improved overall academic performance. Classroom Policies and Smartphone UseSubsequently, classroom policies should be implemented in schools regarding the use of smartphones, due to the increased cellphone use among adolescents and young adults. Lee, Kim, McDounough, Mendoza and Kim (2017) investigated how different procedures regarding the use of cellphones in the classroom affected academic performance and how young adults regulated their emotions. The researchers conducted a series of experimental conditions, where participants were allowed to use their cellphone during class or not (Lee, Kim, McDounough, Mendoza, & Kim, 2017). The participants then completed a series of tests about the material they had just learned (Lee et al. , 2017). Thus, it was found that the participants in the conditions which had no cellphones during the classroom lecture performed better on the tests compared to the participants in the conditions who got to keep their cellphones (Lee et al. , 2017). Henceforth, a resolution, in order to improve the academic performance of young adults, was to have policies implemented in colleges and universities, in order to impede the use of cellphones during class time, ultimately improving academic performance (Lee et al. , 2017).
Furthermore, in a related study Khan, Kend, and Karaman (2016) explored the notion regarding the use of social media and cellphones, in the classroom and social life of students, in an accounting undergraduate program. The researcher tested 126 participants by using a “questionnaire [which] was adapted from [the] Pew Internet and American Life Project’s ‘Social Networking Websites and Teens Survey’” (Khan, Kend, & Karaman, 2016, p. 543). This questionnaire allowed researchers to gain insight on the daily usage of smartphones, particularly when using specific social media (Khan, Kend, & Karaman, 2016). Thus, it was found that accounting students used social media and their cell phones very often in the classroom and during their academic life, ultimately resulting in more social connections online, but with a decreased overall academic performance and concentration during lectures in the classroom (Khan, Kend, & Karaman, 2016).
Ultimately, this demonstrated that classroom policies should emphasize a no social media and cellphone use policy in the classroom, in order to improve academic performance and concentration. In sum, the current state of the literature thus far, demonstrated that there were negative effects related to cellphone use and academic performance. Thus, based on the literature, in the present study, it was predicted that young adults, in CEGEP, who spend more time on their smartphones (particularly on social media and/or texting) are more likely to have a decrease in academic performance.