Advisor

Carol J. Kobulnicky, PhD, RPh, Associate Professor

Abstract

Technology has advanced significantly within the past decade and along with that has come the ability to use a variety of devices for academic purposes. While this can make accessing information much easier and allow for new organizational methods, it can also provide the opportunity for more distractions. The purpose of this study is to research how access to screens, such as smartphones, tablets and computers, impacts studying and academic performance in college students. We examined how this distraction potential can play a role in studying experiences and academic performance and how students attempt to overcome it. Focus group interviews with current pharmacy students were conducted, audio-recorded and analyzed. Participants reported using screen time for many activities ranging from communication and entertainment to educational purposes such as note-taking, studying and researching. From an academic standpoint, the reported positive contributions of screen usage are improved accessibility and organization, while the negative repercussions are distraction, obsessive habit surrounding use and poor sleep hygiene. Strategy to overcome the negative aspects of screen usage was overwhelmingly the need for self-control. Students spoke of using screen access as a reward for studying, setting clear limits on time spent using screens for non-academic reasons, and intentionally restricting personal access to the Internet. Helping students to generate a self-awareness of the need for this self-control provides a unique opportunity for collaboration among student leaders, instructors and administrators.

Keywords: technology, screen time, academics, distraction, self-control

Department

Pharmacy

Publication Date

Spring 2016

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