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Smartphone Crisis

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Smartphone Crisis

Written by: Delainey Wilson, Head of Layout

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In 2011, it was reported by the Pew Research Center that 77% of Americans owned a smartphone. Many people may credit smartphones to making their lives easier and in turn, making them more productive people. However, several studies and psychologists have actually proven that smartphones have several negative side effects and can contribute to many problems that people encounter in their everyday lives. These problems can include lack of sleep, poor social skills, and trouble staying focused. Decreasing the amount of time that students use their smartphones would greatly benefit the community.

Nearly 71% of people sleep with their smartphones according to Sleep.org. This means holding their smartphone, having it in bed with them, or having it on their nightstand. Out of ten students at BLHS six said they kept their phones on their nightstands, and four said they slept with their phones in their beds. Due to the fact that their smartphones are within reach, it is understandably common for people to get distracted on their phones when they are supposed to be sleeping. Eight out of ten students said that they were more likely to stay up later on their phones than if they didn’t have it within their reach.

Smartphones can also decrease hormones in a person’s brain, most commonly being melatonin. Sleep.org explains that this takes place due to the fact that smartphones and computers both emit blue light, which stimulates the brain and suppresses melatonin. This often causes a person to have a more difficult time falling asleep.

Aside from contributing to a lack of sleep, smartphones can also have an effect on everyday social interactions. Sociologist Sherry Turkle found that 89% of Americans reported that they took out a phone during the last social interaction they had. Turkle also found that 82% of those people claimed that it deteriorated the interaction that they were having. 80% of students admitted to pulling out their phone during their last social interaction. This shows just how quickly something as small as a smartphone can change the way a conversation plays out. Knowing that smartphones can deteriorate everyday conversations proves that professional and educational social interactions may also be affected.

Smartphones also cause people to lose focus. A psychology research scientist named Kostadin Kushlev conducted a two-week experiment on college students. This experiment tested how often the students experienced inattention and hyperactivity when their phones were on ring or vibrate, versus when they were on silent. It was found that the group who had their phones on ring or vibrate were more prone to suffering interruptions filled with inattention and hyperactivity.

When all of the benefits of smartphones are taken out of the picture, and the negative effects are shown, it becomes clear that the benefits may not be enough to weigh out the alarming negative facts. Students should take time out of their day where they are not using their smartphones. For example limiting their smartphone use during the school day, or getting off of their smartphones one hour before they go to sleep would immensely improve the quality of life that students will receive.

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Smartphone Crisis