School Study Shows Negative Relationship Between Screen Time and GPA

Cyrus Asgari ‘20
Jackie Zhang ‘20
Adrien Joseph ‘20
EE Contributors

Students rely on multiple electronic devices for convenient use and social networking on a daily basis, as well as to supplement their education. However, the increasing presence of technology in everyday life also carries associated risks, especially for a developing adolescent’s brain. The increase in screen time may be a contributing factor in limiting the quantity and quality of sleep students receive and detrimental to their academic performance. Our study sought to answer the question, “How does exposure to the screens of electronic devices affect a student’s sleep and academic performance?” 

Over one hundred Trumbull High School students were asked to report the time they spent on their cell phones and other electronic devices, as well as their average sleep. They also indicated their weighted GPA and number of Honors and Advanced Placement classes they enlisted in. 

The majority of students stated that they used their phone the most after school and believed that it interfered with their sleep. The study observed that decreased sleep leads to lower academic performance. It was found that as daily phone usage increased, a student’s GPA will decrease. This demonstrates that student phone usage can be detrimental to both their sleep and academic success, but some students continue to use their phone for extended times. Females’ GPAs were less affected by phone usage than  males’, indicating that males may be less capable of maintaining a high level of academic performance while facing an equal level of distraction from phones while female students are more likely to manage their time more efficiently overall.

The generalizability of this study is limited due to the relatively small sample size. Many other confounding variables, such as socioeconomic status and quality of education, vary substantially across school districts; therefore, the results of this study cannot be applied to other schools. Moreover, the accuracy of the survey responses poses additional limitations, because it is very likely that several students responded erroneously to the survey questions. 

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