As millions of students prepare to go back to school across America in a few weeks, most of them will be bringing a wave of technology that is becoming a losing battle for teachers and school administrators. The prevalence of smart phones, laptops and other connected devices in classrooms has created a whole new problem for the age-old efforts by teachers to make students sit still, pay attention and not cheat.
According to a new survey of over 1,200 high school students in the U.S. by McAfee Security, use and abuse of technology on campus is rampant. The survey finds one-in-three high schoolers admit to using a smart phone or other electronic device to cheat in class, while six-in-ten are aware of other students using devices to cheat. In addition, 31-percent of high school students have been able to thwart security restrictions to access banned content or sites in the classroom.
The results are not necessarily surprising, considering the growing attachment between people and connected devices. Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist with McAfee, says use of social media is perhaps the biggest challenge in trying to keep students alert in class. "The distraction factor of social media, I think is the thing that we have to kind of double-click on as a society," he tells KTRH. "What can we be doing as school administrators, teachers, parents, to work with our kids to understand there's a time to interact with social media and there's a time to be focused on your studies, and you need to understand that distinction."
There is no easy solution for the out-of-control use of technology by today's young generation, but Davis believes adults must be proactive and take the issue seriously. "It really has to be a combination of teachers working with parents to have an ongoing dialogue with their kids," he says. "I think that is the most important thing we can be doing today to help curb some of these bad behaviors like cyberbullying, using your devices for cheating, and things like that."