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One of the most pressing emergent educational issues addressed by the international research literature concerns the effects that excessive or problematic smartphone use can have on students’ academic performance. An exploratory study was thus carried out with 46 students enrolled in a five-year degree program at the University of Padova (Italy) who were asked to provide their perceptions of their level of smartphone dependence and academic performance. Findings seem to indicate a significant correlation between high levels of smartphone addiction, difficulty concentrating while studying, and a frequent tendency to procrastinate on completing assigned tasks. Responses regarding smartphone distraction during in-person classes were particularly interesting: over 75% of respondents reported using their smartphones frequently in class. In order of importance, their reasons for doing so were to view and answer social media messages (61%), “boredom” due to the teaching strategies employed by some teachers in presenting lessons (41%), and the need to take a break from concentrating in class (35%). Lastly, smartphone use and its effects on academic performance involve three principal components: usage time, distraction in class, and frequency of smartphone checks. Smartphone usage time seems to have a direct negative effect on exam grades. Distraction in class is most significant for respondents who use their smartphones for messaging, while the frequency with which respondents check their smartphones is inversely proportional to their age...
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