Back in the Dark Ages, talking with a friend on the phone required me to use a landline, which meant being in the kitchen because the phone there had a 20-foot chord that allowed me to pace as I spoke. Twenty feet seemed like a goodly distance, but I knew that no conversation could be considered private. It also meant that no conversation would take place after 10:00 p.m. out of respect for parents in houses on both ends of the line who had to work the next day.

These circumstances didn’t prevent me from having a private life or staying up late. They merely helped me discern what should be private and what could be said within earshot of parents and siblings. They also prevented me from taking a phone into the bedroom with me, which gave me a space the outside world had to knock to enter. I got to choose which books or letters or magazines or siblings came in.

It appears that giving young people constant access to smartphones is a bad idea. This morning’s New York Times reveals:

Of course, there have been major swings in teenage well-being. By many measures, teen mental health has deteriorated, especially for girls, since about 2008. The suicide rate for girls and boys began rising around then. Feelings of loneliness and sadness began rising, too. The amount of time teenagers spend socializing in person has declined. So has sleep. “Young people are telling us that they are in crisis,” Kathleen Ethier, a top C.D.C. official, said this month when releasing the results of a large survey.

2008, if you’re wondering, is one year after the first iPhone became publicly available.

The Times also reveals that students whose access to smartphones is limited, particularly in PM hours, have higher levels of self-confidence and mental health. Of the 66 studies conducted on the impact of smartphones on the mental health of young people, only 11 concluded that little or no damage has been done.

I have no idea what it will take to pry smartphones out of the clutched hands of students. I’m open to ideas. Share them now.

This entry was posted in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Vindicated

  1. Kinsley Hendricks says:

    It’s many ways to pry smartphones out of the hands of students. You could start at the root and not give it to them first place. Or even set boundaries with the smartphone when you first give it to them. You could even set consequences when students are on their smartphones. Lastly, a way to pry it out of their hands is to show them the negative consequences of how the smartphone is affecting them. Like how it affects mental, social, and physical health and how it can cause depression and other mental illnesses.

  2. Vishnu Gadepalli says:

    While ideal, getting youngsters to put down the screens is not practical. With the rise of all the social medias, people simply scroll away and get an endless amount of dopamine which makes them want to keep using their devices. Before you know it, it is 2 AM and you have an 8 AM class. These forms of digital media will only grow. A need for technology is almost a necessity nowadays for people of all ages, so a way to ensure that people are using it in moderation is to use said digital media to promote healthy ideas and encourage young people to take breaks and do positive things that release dopamine through more constructive means. At the end of the day, the people who understand and empathize with this issue should set an example for those who are unaware of their own harmful actions.

  3. Avery McMechan says:

    The issue with prying the “devil devices” away from teenagers and young people as a whole is that the population would have to want it. The truth is that technology and social media like Instagram, SnapChat, and Tiktok have all become such intertwined part of the younger generations lives that they cannot seem to exist without it. If you were to ask 100 Gen Z’s if they would rather be with or without social media for a week, I would reckon that you might find 5 brave souls who would be okay with going without it. Nature like camping, hiking, or for some even hunting, is one of the most basic go to ways to be absent from the online. Other than that the only ways that younger people remove themselves from modern media is through work, a gym, or being grounded. The sad truth is that even if the younger generation does remove themselves like this, its only ever temporary, maybe a week, a day, usually only a few hours, before jumping right back into the very thing that makes them miserable. I would wager that in the modern day, there is no honestly true way to remove ourselves from the chains of social media and modern communication until we decide, as a whole, to leave it behind for the better.

  4. Kadie Van says:

    Prying phones from the clutches of students’ hands is a challenging task. Reasons why could include their fear of missing out (FOMO) from the outside world or their friends, their boredom in a class, or simply that they cannot go a second without checking their phones. One way that will encourage students to get off their phones: making class more interactive. As an example, you can encourage group reading, and at the end of each group reading have some simple questions for each student to answer. This will not only make them comprehend the reading presented but make it more interactive for students to pay attention to the material instead of their phones.

  5. Mira Patel says:

    To reduce the need of smartphones for students, we need to introduce and promote other ways of relaxation, such as reading books, self-care, and hanging out with friends in person. Smartphone addiction affects most teenagers in this day and age, because it allows them to have quick connections with their friends, provides a way to reduce boredom, and connects them to the current events taking place around the world. In order to take smartphones away from students, we must make classes engaging so as to shorten the amount of time when students are able to take a peek at their phone. Also, a more strict way to take away phones is to make students give them to the teacher to put away and receive them back at the end of the class period.

  6. Bill Arnoldus says:

    1. You got the little phone pouch thing that middle school teachers got near the door
    2. You got the teachers that destroy the phones when they see them in class
    3. The ones that take them up and say “You’re going to have to go to the principal to get this back”
    4. Guilt trip the students into not taking the phones out in class
    5. Tell the students that you want to run an experiment and tell them to not take the phones out in class today then never tell them that the experiment is over
    6. Tell them that Latoya is sitting in today to watch the class
    7. Set off an EMP
    8. Put a really strong magnet next to the doorway to make sure they dont have a phone
    9. Let the students make a government in class and then put “cant have phone out in class” as one of the amendments
    10. As a reward for not having a phone out in class, students get to pie you in the face

  7. Gordon Welch says:

    I believe “force” is the only way to get students off of their phones during instruction time. Taking them up or checking for them to make sure they are not physically on the student might be necessary. The only items I have ever seen people be addicted to as much as phones, are drugs. Nearly anyone can unlock their phone and lose track of reality within five minutes. I honestly would love to see even just one class in which you surprised everyone by taking their phones in order to see how they react, or how the classroom participation improves. You could even start an experiment, comparing the participation of students in a classroom with their phones vs. without them.

  8. James Talamo says:

    You want to take phones from teens?? Good luck. I think finding ways to teach young people to handle/cope with the responsibility of a phone is the best option. I must praise my grandmother for her tactics. When I went to my homeschool, there was no screentime limit set by my grandmother. Her rule was that I did my homework and handled my responsibilities before I accessed any electronics, or I could have a 2-hour screen time limit. I chose the first option, and while I may not follow that anow, it did get me through my younger years without distractions

  9. Elijah Camba says:

    I completely understand the article’s statements on how we are physically and mentally affected by the use of our smartphones. One single post of a conventionally attractive person will make you feel ugly, one provocative scroll through TikTok makes you hate the world, and attentions spans get increasingly shorter with each scroll.

    And, I also see how the advances of the smartphone create new additions to culture as well. It can range from something simple as dumb and old trendy dances to fashion trends, to even radical stuff such as racism, sexism, and politics.

    I think that the world of the internet is both a wonderful and dangerous thing. And I do quite agree that it is not for the faint-hearted. If we were to prevent all of the negative aspects and affects the internet could bring upon teenagers, I think it comes with a sense of education, self-awareness, and caution. Be mindful of the many dangers on the internet, know when you are stepping in too deep into screen time, and be able to stop and “touch some grass”

  10. Eddie Lai says:

    When it comes to the idea of being on phones too much, I criticise myself much more critically than others. For me, I believe it’s the lack of self-discipline and motivation to get my work done. It’s the lack of vigor to temporarily set aside the personal desire for a higher goal. While I may be too tough on myself, there is a certain truth to what I think of myself. Smartphones are an easy way to gain entertainment and pleasure. From a young age, if we don’t learn self-discipline, we easily fall into a cycle of unproductive waste. I, personally, never got up when my alarms went off, always snoozing them for a bit more sleep. My brother, however, learned to wake up and maintain a healthy sleep cycle. The only thing stopping me from sleeping in on days is the consequences of not going to class. We must learn self-discipline to mitigate the effects of smartphones. Instead of relying on consequences and screen time restrictions, we must practise self-control. While this is a non–direct method to address the issue, it is the most practical way, in my opinion.

  11. Julia Nguyen says:

    Before coming to MSMS, I actually had free-time. Other than school, extracurriculars, and my social life, I was at home enjoying time with my family. Other times, I would be on my phone. I was on my phone, as expected, more during the day/night before I came here than when I did. I can’t name a time where I have laid in bed on my phone this school year, there is genuinely always something to do. I have taught myself discipline when it comes to using my phone. I go to school, I study, I do work, I get through my extracurriculars, and then I go to sleep only to repeat it again. Maybe it is just because I am busy, or maybe it is because I no longer find my cellphone my end-all & be-all, maybe it is both. But I have taught myself discipline by imagining where I want to be in X years. I can’t get it staring at a screen. I’ve taught myself to work hard without accessing my phone, its served me well since August and still well now as I call it a night on a full-day of exam preparation.

  12. Jacqueline Smith says:

    I would say that not letting young children have phones or easy internet access is a must. I had a Mormon friend who didn’t have a phone until he turned 16. On one hand, he didn’t know slang terms and it was fun to tease him, but on the other hand, he is easily one of the most successful students at my old school. He is very sociable and likable, he’ll most likely be valedictorian, and he’s the class president. Most people made fun of him until around freshmen year when they realized that his mental situation was a lot clearer than their own (no room for social media drama, text miscommunications, or hard long-distance relationships). I cringe at the sight of my younger cousins (both under 9) being addicted to their mom’s phone. I do see how it is easy to let a device babysit for you, but the consequences are not nice. Personally, since coming to MSMS, I’ve had less time for social media, which I prefer, to be honest. I’ve had unrestricted access to the internet since I was about 8 and social media allows for a lot of time-wasting and dissociation that makes me feel bad about myself. I would conclude by saying the most effective way to prevent a lot of these issues is waiting until a child is at least 14-15, or just letting kids realize that their peers are a lot worse off with unrestricted internet use.

  13. Ava Wilson says:

    I think that trying to snatch teenagers’ phones out of their hands one by one is unrealistic and I can say, from experience, when you don’t have a phone and all of your friends do, you can often feel left out. They may be talking about something funny in the group chat that you can’t be in, and just ultimately causes feelings of being disconnected.

    At this point, forms of pocket technology are such a part of everybody’s daily life that getting rid of them is completely unrealistic, not that I wouldn’t be for getting rid of it. Rather we should work on improving online environments. We can attempt to remove the capitalistic nature of the internet, which is a major factor in the decrease in confidence of teenagers as many of their favorite influences will try to sell them a product that convinces them that there is another thing wrong with them. However, this has been prevalent since before the internet came about, women didn’t even start shaving their legs until short sleeve tops became popular and advertisers took that opportunity to make money; progress for the sake of greed. Making money off the internet is a large part of the draw nowadays, why do you think there are so many influencers and old burnt-out YouTubers still trying to appeal to young audiences?

  14. Max Feng says:

    Rewiring teenage brains not to pick up the smartphone is an extremely hard task. However, I think letting students experience the negative impacts of cell phones themselves instead of teaching them the negative consequences is the best strategy. Being told something and experiencing something have very different outcomes. For example, you can constantly tell a student that what they are learning is important for the future, but they will not truly understand until they are struggling in a higher-level college class, wishing they had paid more attention. As of right now, I believe I can control my phone usage, but two years ago, that was not the case. It was constant headaches, lack of sleep from the late-night scrolling, and dependence on my phone that made me realize I needed to change.

  15. Komal Patel says:

    Most people I know are aware of the harmful side effects to smartphone usage but are unable to put down their phone(myself included). This makes sense. Smartphones are made to be addictive, the content provided by phones is immense, and phones are entrenched in everyday lives. People need phones for work and school. So, I think that it would be extremely difficult to get teens off their phone. Like Max said, I do believe that leaning through experience is important for teens. However, limiting phone usage for young kids is imperative to slow down the eventual addictions. Limiting smartphone hours can allow children to find enjoyable activities that can last into their adult years. Also, working on improving the community online is important for helping teens well being and confidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *