Saint Joseph’s University students know they are using their phones too much. Could this excess screen time be negatively impacting their ability to learn?

When one student was asked what they thought their weekly screen time was, she responded “Oh my god, too high” going on to guess that her screen time was probably around eight hours a day.

We interviewed five students to find out how often students on our campus are using their phones. Based on the responses we got, students at SJU are aware that they use their phones far too much. To understand how this excessive phone use may be affecting them, we did some research on the negative effects of screen time.

SJU students check their average daily screen time

Debra Bradley Ruder from Harvard Medical School believes that excess screen time on blue light-emitting screen devices like smartphones before bed can disrupt sleep patterns by suppressing secretion of the hormone melatonin.

This means that college students who stay up late texting, snapchatting, and scrolling through TikTok are not getting enough deep REM sleep. REM sleep is essential for the processing and storing of information from that day into memory according to Harvard Medical School. This is extremely important for college students who are juggling the responsibilities of five to six classes and could directly affect their grades.

All of the students we interviewed used their phones upwards of six hours a day, with one student having a daily average of over eight hours. That would be over 56 hours of screen time a week! Three out of the five students used Snapchat the most, while one used TikTok and the other used messaging the most.

Excessive screen time may be negatively impacting college students’ ability to learn. It can either affect the amount of good sleep they get or just be a constant distraction. Science agrees that everyone, especially college students could benefit from putting the phone down and decreasing their weekly screen time.