Poll: Almost three-fourths of students use the cell phone in class

By BECKY HATTERSLEY/Montana State News

Seventy-two percent of Montana State University students text during class, according to a recent poll of 50 students by Montana State News group.

In fact, mobile phone bearing students use their phones to do various kinds of multitasking during class, 50 percent check their email, 26 percent are on social media sites, and 18 percent are playing Angrybirds. But, of course, that all depends on the class, said many of the poll’s participants.

On a wider scale, a poll done by the Pew Research Center reveals that 85 percent of people in the U.S. own a mobile phone. Of that group, 67 percent use it to text, 43 percent use it for internet, and 50 percent use it for social media sites such as Facebook.

These numbers show that 5 percent more students text during class than U.S. mobile phone users text as a whole.  However, the number of Facebook users during class is 24 percent lower than the national average of mobile phone Facebook users in general.

MSU student David Buckingham offers a possible explanation for this variance: “I have a dumb phone, so I can’t do any of those Internet things anyway.”

Of the students who use their phones during class, many considered there use only a “rare occasion,” including 46 percent of texters, 16 percent of Facebook users, 40 percent of email users and 12 percent of Angrybirds players.

These numbers seem rather low to some of the poll’s participants. When asked, 40 percent of the people who didn’t use their cell phone for texting or playing Angrybirds during class circled the statement, “but everyone else does.”

A possible explanation for the fact the results may actually show less in-class cell phone use than people feel exists, is the fact that the poll was optional – and some people were just too busy playing with their phones to take it.

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