By Greg Toppo
One-fourth of teens' cellphone text messages are sent during class, a new survey finds, despite widespread classroom bans on cellphones at school. The survey of 1,013 teens — 84% of whom have cellphones — also shows that a significant number have stored information on a cellphone to look at during a test or have texted friends about answers. More than half of all students say people at their school have done the same.
Only about half of teens say either of the practices is a "serious offense," suggesting that students may have developed different personal standards about handwritten information vs. material stored on cellphones, says pollster Joel Benenson. "The message about doing those kinds of things on the cellphone may not be reinforced the same way," he says.
The poll found that teens send 440 text messages a week on average — 110 of them during class. That works out to more than three texts per class period. The findings also reveal a split in perception between teens and parents: Only 23% of parents whose children have cellphones think they are using them at school; 65% of students say they do.
Benenson conducted the online poll in late May and early June for Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based education company. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.