By Lily Munsee
Let’s face it, we’ve all been in the middle of a task when we’ve heard our phones buzz, and we’ve all stopped what we were doing to respond to the text, or check Snapchat, or whatever app distracted us. And after we respond, we don’t just turn off our phones and resume our tasks; we check social media. We scroll through Instagram, watch people’s Snapchat stories, and check our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
Smartphones have rapidly developed into one of the most controversial inventions, especially among high school students, who many believe to be the generation most engrossed in their phones.
For many students, smartphones are an asset to their schoolwork. They provide an easily accessible outlet to the internet, where they can look up sources and information for projects, essays, and presentations. They allow students to access their textbooks that may be online, or their teacher’s Google Classroom to check on assignments and do their homework. There is even an app that allows students to see their grades in seconds, as well as calculate what grade they need on an upcoming test.
"It's a phenomenal tool if we learn to use it the right way," said senior Anna Leporte.
Some students don’t find their phones to be distracting, and are able to rise above the temptations of social media.
“I look for texts but as soon as I open the phone I don’t go ‘well better check instagram or something," said senior Brian Pinder. “No, I do that like twice a day, then I play Clash Royale.”
However, students like Leporte and Pinder have become more of a rarity.
As the website Seacoastonline states, “studies have revealed that 50 percent of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices, with 72 percent of teens feeling the need to immediately respond to texts.”
Although many students acknowledge their addiction, the majority do not take actions to fix this rapidly increasing distraction.
“I hate to say it, but I do think it’s a problem,” said junior Julia Stengel. “Sometimes I think social media kind of controls my life.”
Senior Brian Pinder equated checking phones to breathing. Although seemingly joking, there may be truth behind the comparison. Many teenagers use their phones when they are bored or in uncomfortable situations.
“I'll just go on my phone and be like checking the time just to do something with my hands,” said senior Maya Willey.
Although many seem to not be taking actions to fix their addictions, there are a rare few that are attempting to change.
Willey realized that the majority of her conversations were centered around her phone, and decided to take action. She deleted several of her social media apps, including Instagram, because she felt she was getting too attached to it. Now, she feels that her phone is empty with the absence of her favorite apps.
The vast amount of cell phone usage has become so relevant and teachers are starting to notice it. Many of them are becoming frustrated with the seemingly incurable cell phone obsession.
“It’s a daily struggle,” said Novato High english and creative writing teacher Laura Caldwell. “Even though I've set the guideline that no phones are out unless I say it’s okay, because we do use it sometimes in class, it’s still I have to keep reminding them to put it away, put it away, and then I see the phones a lot of times on their laps or sneaking it.”
Caldwell has noted the struggle students have with fully detaching from their phones when it’s time for class.
“It’s really difficult for them to really put them away in their backpacks and not have them nearby,” said Caldwell. “It’s like a part of their body.”
These distractions have begun to impede the ability for students to do their homework, providing an easy outlet for students to take frequent breaks, and avoid work.
“I go on Tumblr the most now because that’s what I use to procrastinate,” said Willey, referring to the popular microblogging and social networking website.
Some teachers have noticed connections with students who are more attached to their phones and struggling in class.
“From what I can tell, the students that are really distracted by their phones tend to not be paying attention to directions and what’s going on, and they miss certain things, so they don’t always turn in their homework, or read what they’re supposed to read, so I definitely see a correlation with that,” said Caldwell.
Cell phones are ultimately shrouded in controversy, with parents, teachers, and even students coming down on both sides of the argument.
“I love my phone. It lets me communicate with my friends, and keeps me connected to the world, but it’s also one of the most distracting things in my life,” said junior Irvin Gonzales. “Sometimes I wish I could go back to having a flip phone when I could only call and text people.”