Addicted to the 21st Century

By: Aaliyah Hinckson

The bell has just rung for F-band, the hallways are filled with students, some walking very slowly, immersed in their cell phones.

Junior Carla Pierre admits she’s addicted as she looks at her phone during passing.

“I’m on my phone 90-to-95 percent of the day, either texting or on Snapchat,” said Pierre, who estimates that she sends 100-to-200 text messages a day.

“I check my phone every 10 minutes unless it is charging,” she added.

Like a lot of teenagers, Pierre is not alone in her phone addiction. It may be frustrating for parents and teachers to get teenagers off the phone and in this daily tug-of-war battle with teenagers, most teens admit to having a problem.

According to a recent Common Sense Media poll, as the number of teens who own smartphones go up over the past six years, from 41 percent in 2012 to 89 percent in 2018, nearly 47 percent of teens who have a smartphone say they are addicted to it.

In addition, 80 percent of teens are daily texters, up from 68 percent in 2012.

Junior Adanna Dixon admits she’s addicted to her phone. She said she spends about 60 percent of her day texting as well as checking and updating her Facebook status.

“I check my phone every minute I get bored,” she said.

Dixon said she has had a discussion with her mother but really doesn’t listen to her advice. “It helps me with my work, which [her mother] won’t be able to help me with,” she said.

Brianna Sainphor said she also is addicted.

“Every time it dings, I check it, for anything that may be worth responding to or seeing,” the sophomore said.

Another study from Science News for Students.org said that smartphone use affects the performance level of teenagers in school. The study found that in classes where phones are used, students perform worse on exams.

“It’s part of the culture,” said school psychologist, Dr. Brian Utnick, who thinks phone addiction alters a student’s ability to be able to relate to people. “It keeps the mind stimulated but takes away from the socialization aspect.”

Film and ESL teacher Ms. Joanna Papamichael said one of her biggest problems is telling students to stay off the phone in class. In fact, there are times where she has to call a student out by name if they don’t comply with her request to put away the phone.

“I think it’s out of control,” Ms. Papamichael said. “Students should not have phones visible during class time unless the teachers ask them to look something up or look at a document. I try not to tell individual students initially, I will ask everyone to put away.”

Social Studies teacher Mr. Joel Puelle said he is sometimes an advocate for phone usage, however believes that during class it’s not OK.

“I think cell phones are very useful tools for research and many aspects of modern life,” he said. “But, in the context of the classroom, it is very disruptive because they distract students from the reading and work that they’re supposed to be doing in class.”

For Julia Grossman, who admits that she sends upwards of 400 texts a day and also checks her various social media platforms throughout the day, said it’s hard stopping.

“I’m addicted to checking the amount of likes I get on a photo,” she said. “… . I know how to balance it out. I know when to use it and when it distracts.”

“It’s like a time and place, they need to give it up a little bit to start doing something else with their lives,” said Utnick.

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