His cell phone is supposed to be turned off, but when Matt Truong gets bored in class, the East High School sophomore sends text messages — up to 400 times during the school day, he estimates.
"It's an addiction," he said.
It's fairly easy to get away with using a cell phone, especially with teachers who aren't very strict, added Ashton Bethel, a Southeast sophomore.
"You just go under the desk and hide it," she said.
A recent national poll shows that these Wichita-area students are in the majority when it comes to surreptitious cell phone use by teens.
About two-thirds of students who are supposed to keep their phones off use them during the school day anyway, according to an online survey commissioned by Common Sense Media, a California nonprofit that researches how media affects children.
"Even at the junior high level, they're breaking out iPhones," said Bailey Ketterman, who has worked as a substitute teacher at several Wichita-area suburban districts. "It's definitely a widespread problem."
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