Teens Are Addicted to Their Phones, and Often Not Connected to the Real World

by Madison Cooper

Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media hopelesssly hopping from one app to another for no particular reason only that you have nothing better to do? If so you might just be addicted to your phone.

Holland Haiis, an expert on all things involved with digital media described this new generation of tech savvy teens as “the new 21st century addiction.” And considering a recent study, 50% of teens feel that they are dependent and/or addicted to their phone (CNN.com).

1,240 parents and their children ranging from 12 to 18 participated in the study and after being interviewed they also found that 59% of parents thought their children were dependent on their mobile phone.  The same organization also found that 72% of all teens felt the urge to respond to texts and social networking notifications immediately, 80% check their phones hourly, and 85% of parents found that teens get distracted by their devices (TimesMagazine.com).

After hearing about this I decided to conduct a survey of my own involving 50 students at WHS. Students were given the option to choose from one hour, two hours, three hours, and more than three hours per day and the results weren’t that surprising. As 44% of students found that they spend more than three hours on their phone per day, 22% said three hours, 26% said two hours, and only 8% of students said they spend about one hour on their phone per day.

When I asked the students if they spend an extensive amount of time on their own devices their responses were mixed. Junior Linsey Winpigler said, “Yes, once you take someone’s phone away they look lost….they’ve become dependent on them.” While senior Bailey Coop said “No we don’t, and even if we are on our phones as long as we get our work done, it doesn’t matter.”  Freshman Jada Tablah chimed in that “we shouldn’t be judged for it.” Freshman Brooke Turner said, “Yes, but we shouldn’t be judged because that’s how we communicate with people.”

“So maybe this isn’t the end of the world as more and more of our future generations consume a high dosage of multimedia per day or maybe it’s just a sign of a generational gap and how times have changed,” said Common Sense Media’s CEO James P. Steyer’s, “The generational gap revealed in the different behaviors of teens and their parents raises the question of whether we may be too quick to label as ‘addiction’ something that is actually a normal adaptation to rapidly and constantly evolving social norms.”  (CNN.com)