By Ken To, Centre for University and School Partnership, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Does using a mobile phone have any implications for students’ achievement? Recently, Liu and colleagues investigated the relationship between prolonged mobile phone use and academic performance among adolescents in China.
The study was based on a sample from the Shandong Adolescent Behavior and Health Cohort conducted in 2015. The survey examined students’ weekday and weekend mobile phone use, sleep duration, insomnia, depression, and self-reported achievement. Among the sample of 11,831 students, the researchers were able to obtain the year-end achievement test scores for Chinese, Mathematics, and English for 856 students, following the baseline survey for the analysis. The results were as follows:
Students’ achievement significantly decreased if their mobile phone use was more than 1 hour on weekdays and 2 hours or more a day on the weekend.
After controlling for background, students who used a mobile phone more than two hours during weekdays and five hours during weekend days scored significantly lower in English and Mathematics than those who used mobile phones less than an hour per weekday and two hours per weekend days.
Reduced sleep duration, insomnia, and depression mediated the relationship between prolonged mobile phone use and academic achievement, but the extent was small.