School & District Management

Teens Spend More Time Chatting Than Studying, Survey Finds

By Catherine Gewertz — November 17, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

High school students say that doing their homework and studying for class are important, but they are spending more time chatting on the phone, surfing the Web, or watching television, a new survey shows.

The High School Student Engagement Survey, released today, offers this troubling portrait as well as a bunch of other interesting data about adolescents’ attitudes and actions in school. Based on 30-minute surveys taken by 134,706 students from high schools big and small across the country, the survey captures scads of boredom and disinterest (half say they’re bored every day, and admit that they’ve skipped school at least once or twice).

They’re bored because the material isn’t interesting (more than 80 percent), isn’t relevant (more than 40 percent), is too difficult (about one quarter), is too easy (about one third), or because they have no interaction with their teachers (about one third).

When they’re asked how much time they spend on various activities in the course of a week, a little more than half say they spend an hour or less reading or studying for class. But 60 percent to 70 percent say they spend two or more hours per week watching television, playing video games, surfing or chatting online, or talking on the phone. This is in spite of survey feedback that more than 70 percent of the students rate studying for class as “somewhat important, very important, or top priority.”

Anyone who’s raised teenagers has seen this disconnect up close and personal. How can schools help them bridge that gap between knowing what’s important and actually doing it?

A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion Best Ways for Schools to Prepare for the Next Pandemic
Being better connected to families and the community and diversifying the education workforce are some of the ways to be ready.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educators' Support for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Is Rising Dramatically
Nearly 60 percent of educators say students who are old enough to receive COVID vaccines should be required to get them to attend school.

4 min read
Mariah Vaughn, a 15-year-old Highland Park student, prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during the vaccine clinic at Topeka High School on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021.
Mariah Vaughn, 15, a student at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kan., prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at her school in August.
Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP
School & District Management 10 Ways to Tackle Education's Urgent Challenges
As the school year gets underway, we ask hard questions about education’s biggest challenges and offer some solutions.
2 min read
Conceptual Image of schools preparing for the pandemic
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Reported Essay Principals Need Social-Emotional Support, Too
By overlooking the well-being of their school leaders, districts could limit how much their schools can flourish.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week