The Maroon

Phone Addictions Affect 50% of Teens

Students+sneaking+their+phones+is+a+common+site+around+campus.+
Students sneaking their phones is a common site around campus.

Students sneaking their phones is a common site around campus.

Zayna Chouman

Zayna Chouman

Students sneaking their phones is a common site around campus.

Katarina Carrico, Staff Writer

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In a test done by Common Sense Media, 50 percent of teens admit to cell phone addictions. Although phones can be very practical, there are many physical, social, and emotional side effects from using cell phones. According to a New York Times report, on average both teens and adults check their phones every six minutes each day.

“I believe phones can make us more productive,” graphic design teacher Melanie Sherwood said. “But we need to be watchful they don’t start to control us. Henry David Thoreau once said, ‘Men have become tools of their tools.’ I worry that phones and apps can hijack neural pathways and cause addiction in many people.”

According to Common Sense Media, 77 percent of parents say their teens get distracted by their devices and don’t pay attention when they’re together. With an object in hand that easily causes happiness, spending time with friends and/or family is no longer as high a priority.

“Just like a drug addict, phones can be tools for isolating oneself and avoiding being a part of a community,” Sherwood said. “We risk losing empathy for each other without face to face interactions.”

Being on technology activates the same areas that get activated by gambling, drugs, eating, and exercising. All of those activities stimulate dopamine, specifically in the reward center of the brain.

“I think phones can be positive or negative,” counselor Sherri Patton-Grubb said.“I think one of the ways phones can be negative is if you are looking at social media on them, and you’re either spending time on social media that you should be spending on other things, or you’re looking at social media in a way that causes you to compare yourself to others or creates a negative self-image, either through reading negative comments people may write or just general negativity bias that can occur if we’re not mindful of what we’re looking at.”

Physical side effects can also occur, like sleep disturbances. The light emitting from electronic devices activates the brain, preventing sleep. Eye strain can occur as well, because of the lack of blinking. According to study authors, sperm count among men has declined, partly due to radiation from cell phones.

“To prevent addictions from happening we need to connect with each other face to face without devices present and take time to enjoy nature and practice mindfulness,” Sherwood said.

 

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Phone Addictions Affect 50% of Teens