According to Time Magazine’s Nancy Gibbs, “It is hard to think of any tool… in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones.”
Yet there are downsides to smartphone usage, which can limit the human interaction the devices are intended to promote. The issue persists even with the excess of social media, which can be distracting and addictive.
In fact, in the 2012 Time Mobility Survey taken by phone in eight diverse countries with 5000 participants, a third of respondents admitted that being without their mobile devices for even short periods left them feeling anxious.
“Smartphones are unnecessary if [people] overuse them… I think it is good that [students] chat and talk to friends with their phones; however, I think it is better to talk to each other directly,” Christine Hung, a Chinese teacher at Brea Olinda High School (BOHS), said.
Not only have educators noticed the issue of excessive smartphone usage, but students have also recognized that such a problem exists.
“[Smartphones] take away time from… family. People become obsessed with social media instead of what is going on in front of them,” BOHS sophomore Justine Barcelona, told JSR.
Students are also increasingly using smartphones to “show off” to classmates.
“People tend to judge others based on their phones… I think smartphones create some peer pressure in school that we should have smartphones no matter what,” said sophomore Jenny Lim.
Unfortunately, smartphones have become a tool of distraction both in and out of the classroom.
“Smartphones are distracting and I know some students use [them during] class. This will make their grades lower because they can’t focus on the class,” freshman Alex Huang stated.
To address these problems, some schools have banned smartphones. According to a London School of Economics study following 130,000 students at 91 schools, grades improved by 6.4 percent once smartphones were banned.
Although smartphones seem to have overtaken a large part of students’ lives, this addiction can be relieved through practice and training.
“You have to have self discipline to limit smartphone usage. Self discipline is a required skill when students go out to society. And it will allow students to control themselves, said Hung.”
She concluded, “Smartphones are just tools. Tools should be just tools and not control people.”