Study: Mobile phones causing kids to fall behind

Banning phones at school appears to help low-achieving children

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A recent study shows that banning mobile phones at schools boosts performance of students by 6.41 percent on average. The effect seems to be more significant on disadvantaged and underachieving children.

“Students in the lowest quartile of prior achievement gain 14.23% of a standard deviation,” study says.

According to the study, high-achieving students are less distracted by mobile phones.

“Low-achieving students were most disrupted and distracted by the presence of phones, while high-ability students are not impacted,” Louis-Philippe Beland, first author of the study told The Register.

“This means allowing phones into schools would be the most damaging to low-achieving and low-income students, exacerbating any existing learning inequalities,” Richard Murphy, co-author of the study agreed in a separate press release.

Researchers from Louisiana University and Texas University surveyed 91 schools in Birmingham, London, Leicester and Manchester and studied the relation of the performance of schools’ pupils with their mobile phone policies from 2001 to 2013.

The researchers observes that mobile phone bans are linked with better scores at high school finishing exams.

“We found the impact of banning phones for these students equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days,” Murphy said.

However, Beland didn’t dismiss the usefulness of the technology itself.

“Our findings do not discount the possibility that mobile phones and other forms of technology could be useful in schools if their use is properly structured. However, our findings do suggest that the presence of mobile phones in schools should not be ignored,” Beland said.

TRTWorld and agencies