Teacher’s Experiment Shows Just How Distracting Electronics Are For Kids In School

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If your kids have electronics, you know the amount of time they can spend on them (i.e. 24/7 unless they are monitored). You’ve likely read the studies about the impact of social media and technology on kids — especially how it impacts a growing brain and a child’s ability to concentrate. One teacher did an experiment to see just how many notifications kids receive in one class period and the results, (though not surprising if you have a teen or tween), are eye-opening.

“Every class period today (6 periods) I made my students put their phones on my table (some left phones in their lockers),” eighth- grade history teacher at Kanawha County Schools in West Virginia posted on Facebook. “At the end of class we looked at their notifications. I didn’t read them, I just counted them. These are the notifications that my students got today in my class.”

Every class period today (6 periods) I made my students put their phones on my table (some left phones in their…

Posted by Kathy West on Tuesday, February 4, 2020


West posted a picture of her school board showing the numbers of notifications from social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. She also listed text messages, news apps, and games. The results were astounding. Combined, her students got 506 text messages, 198 snaps, 33 notifications from YouTube, and dozens of others from the other platforms listed.

“These are the notifications that my students got today in my class,” West continued. “Just my class. Not their other classes. Not lunch. Not any other time. Just my class. Think about it.”

West isn’t wrong. Our kids are inundated with messages, posts, friend requests, and the like and have access to information at a rate those of us just a generation before cannot fathom. Distraction when we were in school came through passing notes in class, and when we went home at the end of the day, we got a break from the chaos of school and friends until the next day. Our kids don’t have that luxury. They are “on” as long as they have access to technology — and it’s creating kids that are anxious, depressed, and have lower self-esteem due to the constant barrage of images and information.

Add the sheer volume of information coming from technology to what kids are trying to learn in school and it’s no wonder they have difficulty concentrating. Access to technology has obvious benefits, but kids often feel like they have to be on it all the time or worry they’re missing out. But when they are — based on West’s experiment — you can see just what they’re dealing with.

“How much of a distraction are these notifications to the students?” West said. “Just think about it. If this is just my class…. what would it look like if all the classes were combined.”

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