October 2019

IZA DP No. 12723: Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: A Literature Review

Simon Amez, Stijn Baert

revised version published in: International Journal of Educational Research [Online Access]

We present the first systematic review of the scientific literature on smartphone use and academic success. We synthesise the theoretical mechanisms, empirical approaches, and empirical findings described in the multidisciplinary literature to date. Our analysis of the literature reveals a predominance of empirical results supporting a negative association between students' frequency of smartphone use and their academic success. However, the strength of this association is heterogeneous by (a) the method of data gathering, (b) the measures of academic performance used in the analysis, and (c) the measures of smartphone use adopted. The main limitation identified in the literature is that the reported associations cannot be given a causal interpretation. Based on the reviewed findings and limitations, directions for further research are discussed.