By Jesse Perlmutter
Today, technology is such a prevalent part of our lives. In fact, according to a study completed by Common Sense Media, 50% of all teenagers feel addicted to their cell phone. But why? Why is it that we are we so attached to our cell phones? Byram Hills students give us the top four reasons as to why they believe that teenagers are so addicted to their devices.
First and foremost is social media. One Byram Hills student said, “I think kids are so attached to their phones because of social media and [the feeling of needing to stay] connected is something we value.” Social media has become a medium through which students can talk and connect with others through a screen. Personally, having moved twice, social media has allowed me to stay in touch with friends from past schools. Constantly being linked to others and sharing is what makes social media so appealing.
Secondly, cell phones are most students’ primary source of news. Cell phones have become the way that individuals can learn about current events whether it’s through Snapchat Discover or the “News” app. With these applications, individuals have quick access to information One Byram student noted, “Phones are the way to learn about what’s going on in the world.” For me, the first time I heard about the Parkland shooting was through the “News” app on my phone. Within minutes, I had received notifications from every news-type app on my phone with some sort of content regarding the tragedy. Many students would rather read an article on their phones than in a newspaper for one of two reasons: cell phones allows for quicker access to current events and also allow us to read the news in a more efficient way whether it be in an Instagram story or an alert from an app.
Thirdly, teens feel the need to have their cell phones with them at all times out of fear of missing out – aka FOMO. One student reflected, “Many times I find that the only way my friend group knows what’s going on is through a group chat. I find myself checking the chat a lot to make sure I do not miss out on anything.” In order to make sure that they are included or informed about an event or plan, teens will check their phones frequently. No teen wants to miss out, and therefore, phones have become a form of security for students.
Fourth and finally, cell phones help students in uncomfortable social situations. When put in an awkward social situation, students often turn to their cell phones to avoid the discomfort by simply pretending to be doing something else on their phones so they do not have to engage with others. One student comments, “Due to the phone commodity in our generation, kids have forgotten how to socialize with others, therefore, diving into their phones as a means to pass by a social situation.” Let’s face it, how many of you have pretended to text or speak on the phone, just to avoid an awkward encounter?
Now, how do we quash this cell phone addiction? Should we start by challenging ourselves spending less time on our phones? Do we remove ourselves from certain forms of social media? We want to know what you think, so be sure to vote in the poll below!