Phone usage impacts students’ time management

Students are often distracted by their phones, which can lead to them missing opportunities. (Photo by Emily Forgash)

Students often complain that they don’t have enough time for anything. However, the one thing they do seem to have time for is their phones. There are many things that students want to do, but don’t have time for, because of their phone usage.

Mobile phones are a vital part of most people’s lives. Nearly 92% of surveyed ASL middle school students have one, yet about 61% of students think that their phone usage might be negatively impacting their lives. However, some parents want their child to be reachable, and phones are a huge part of modern culture. Finding balance in a time of constant connection can be difficult, but for students to achieve the things they want to, it is a necessity.

While the majority kids think that they spent too much time on their phones, each student uses their device differently. Eighty-three percent of kids surveyed think that they use their phones primarily for some type of social media, with 190 students saying Snapchat and Instagram are the most-used apps on their phones. Additionally, many students enjoy playing mobile games, while others enjoy watching YouTube or Netflix. These activities are not problematic in moderation, but according to a study done by Common Sense Media, 50% of teens worldwide are addicted to their phones. This means that many teens are sacrificing time that could be spent pursuing passions in order to be on their phones.

Without phones to distract them, many students said that they would attempt to achieve other goals. Over a third of students surveyed stated that they would either read more or work harder on homework. Eighth grader Liv Luneburger said, “When I’m doing my homework, and I get a ping from SnapChat or something, I’ll immediately stop what I’m doing to look at Snapchat. And then I don’t give 100% when doing my work.” Students also expressed interest in pursuing art projects, exploring London, and playing sports. These goals would not be difficult to achieve, yet ASL students are spending time on their phones instead.

Phones can be a force for good if used correctly and in moderation. Parents and kids alike benefit from the instant connection offered by phones. Phones make it easier for parents to keep in touch with their children, and in a school where many students’ friends live overseas, a lot of kids depend on their phones to maintain their friendships.

There has been a lot of debate as to how parents should monitor and restrict phone usage. Eighth Grader Zoha Baig thinks that parents have a say in how much their kid should use their phone, but there is a limit as to how much they should intervene. “Phones are important for communication and to relax. Sometimes parents can’t see the good that comes with phones. They have to right to monitor, but there is a line where they go too far.” Ms. Bambi Thompson, a health teacher at ASL, says that in order for teens and their parents to come to an agreement about phone usage, both have to be willing to share and listen. “This is a time where it’s less about structuring every minute….It’s more about teaching and supporting children to be able to make good decisions. But there is still an element of support needed.” She believes that this communication and support within a family will lead to a teen who is more willing and prepared to moderate themself as they get older.

However, it is often difficult to self-moderate. This problem has led to the creation of apps like Moment, which tell the user how much time they spend on their phones, as well as which apps take up the most of the user’s time. Moment and programs like it don’t reduce phone usage on their own, but they do create an awareness if there is a problem. With a conscious effort, students could be able to put their phone down and begin to achieve their goals.


About Lena Levey ('21)

Features Editor (2016-2017)

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