College Students Have a New ‘Dog Ate My Homework’ Excuse

A new study by Asurion titled “Connected College Life”  reveals that technology is taking over the lives of college students—both on and off campus. The researchers surveyed more than 1,000 students across the nation and found—to no one’s surprise—that 95 percent of university students are bringing their laptops and smartphones to college this year, and over half the students bring TVs, headphones, and printers to school.

“College is often the first time students move away from home and are expected to be responsible for themselves and their personal technology without their parents looking over their shoulders,” said Bettie Colombo, Asurion spokesperson. “Our ‘Connected College Life’ survey has generated insights into how this new independence is helping to shape the ways students use and think about their technology both in and out of the classroom.”

Technology is without a doubt making college life easier, but there are also negative consequences.

Distraction in Class


‘Spicoli’ orders a pizza during class in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Courtesy of kmhk

With the prevalence of smartphones, it’s easier than ever to be distracted during lectures. Almost half—47 percent—of college students have ordered food during class; seven out of 10 students have shopped online during class and 57 percent have taken selfies during lecture. Although technology has made recording notes significantly faster, that doesn’t equate to an improvement in learning or retaining knowledge.

A New Universal Excuse

Remember the old excuse of “my dog ate my homework”? Well, now it’s evolved to “my hard drive crashed.” One third of respondents reported missing deadlines due to malfunctioning electronic devices. Moreover, 15 percent of surveyors admitted to lying about their computer or laptop being broken or missing in order to evade a deadline. To their credit, losing data on an electronic device is more probable than a dog actually eating homework.

No Calling

Since the beginning of time, parents everywhere have lamented about the lack of phone calls from their children once they start university. Now that communication is easier than ever, and for all that time spent on their smartphones, it’s ironic that one-third of college students never make phone calls. Twenty percent of students’ phone time is spent texting, 17 percent on social networks, 12 percent surfing the web and 11 percent listening to music. Even though 90 percent of students are partial to socializing with their friends in person versus online, they often end up glued to their phones anyway.

College Poses Risks for Tech

Despite college students’ addiction to technology, they’re also highly susceptible to losing or breaking their beloved electronic devices. Almost one in five cell phones, tablets, laptops and other devices were reported to be lost, stolen or broken while students were going to parties, bars and restaurants. Over half of these occurrences happened during mundane college activities, like studying, sitting in class or hanging out in their dorm. Almost thirty percent of student surveyors who had an electronic device stolen or broken say they spent at least $400 replacing it.

Survey Methodology: The survey of 1,006 college students ages 18-25 was authorized by Asurion and conducted by Survey Sampling International in July 2015. Students were ages 18-25 returning to college in the fall and living separately from their parents while attending college. Margin of error for the survey base of 1000 respondents is +/- 3.1 percent.


Do you think students are becoming too reliant on technology? How much time do you spend with your devices?




Zara Zhi
Zara Zhi
Zara is a freelance writer and filmmaker who has worked for numerous magazines and news sites. When not coming up with puns or writing screenplays, she enjoys having blind children read to her and donating plasma TVs. Follow her on Twitter: @zarazhi