Crippling Phone Addictions Consume Many


Students’ and teachers’ phone addictions disrupt daily life


Can you pinpoint the moment when you stopped being a carefree kid and started living your life through a screen? Neither can millions of teens today.

“Addiction, in truth, is not the dependence upon the substance or behavior but rather upon the brain’s reaction when that certain substance or behavior is taken,” licensed clinical therapist, Janine Geida, said.

Today, phones are one of the leading causes of addiction. According to a study conducted by University of
California, on average, it takes at least 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get fully back on task after being distracted. Not to mention, people have different attention spans. If someone is going on their phone hundreds of times per day, they can waste almost half their day just in refocusing alone.

Students sneak time on phone during class because of the constant pull to check social media notifications.

“Snapchat notifications compel me to go back on my phone. Even when I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone, the urge to go on it is debilitating,” said sophomore Angela Saporito.

Senior Hanna McIntyre spends on average three hours a day on TikTok. For her and thousands of others, TikTok is addictive because the stream of videos is never-ending. With an endless flow of videos and all day after school to watch them, it is hard for people to stop scrolling and get out of the rabbit hole.

Dopamine plays a role in the ability to feel pleasure, serotonin helps regulate moods, and norepinephrine impacts stress. These three chemicals are dysregulated when addicted to something. That’s why people chase “the high,” and once it’s gone, these chemicals are depleted and people struggle to return to normal functioning. Staring at our screens for hours gives us this “high.” The notifications and endless stream of videos are what take us hostage.

Geida said if addiction were to be summed up in three words, it would be “deceptive, destructive, and imprisoning.” For most, they never know the hold addiction has on them.

“I’ve heard from a lot of students, ‘My parents tell me to stop doing things [on my phone],’ but then I look over at them and they are doing the same thing,” said freshman Wellness teacher Jennifer Brush. When so many people are on their phones constantly, it’s hard to know when to stop.

For junior Ella Cook, a way to relinquish her desire to check her phone is with preventative apps that help with phone addictions, screen time reduction, and productivity.

“I have an app called Focus Plant. I can grow cool little plants, but I have to set a timer on it and stay off my phone during that time. It won’t let me use other apps or I lose all my points. It really helps,” said Cook.

While apps like these may be helpful, it’s up to the phone user to hold themselves accountable. For those struggling with addiction to their phones, it is up to them to take strides in freeing themselves from the hold their screen has on them.