Cell Phone Addiction

“If you turn your phone in at the beginning of class, you will get 1% extra credit.” I couldn’t believe it. All I would have to do to get one whole percent of extra credit was separate myself from my phone for an hour and fifteen minutes? What a piece of cake. Would this really be a challenge for some people? I was rather taken aback (but grateful nonetheless) by this proposition. Unlike most of my professors assume, I am not addicted to my cell phone. Sure, I am susceptible to the occasional distraction of it, but I am fine taking a break from it. In fact, I even like it- I felt laser-focused without my cell phone by my side. However, it got me thinking- is my generation really that addicted to technology?

Just as we have learned in class about the dangers of cigarettes addiction, I was curious about the dangers and reality of cell phone addiction. Recently I had to go on a nature walk for my BiSci class. In order to do this, we had to leave our cell phones behind with our TA. Again, as someone who is not emotionally attached to my cell phone, this was no issue for me. However, I can’t say the same for my other classmates. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they missed their phone or where anxious without it, I would have been able to buy my way out of going on that walk. It was absolutely mind blowing how much they genuinely missed their phones. This experience made me even more curious about the reality of cell phone addiction.

According to a study done by Science News for Students, many college students find themselves addicted to their cell phones. Out of the 24 hours in the day, the average college students finds themselves spending a whopping 9 of those on cellphone use alone. When students tried to distance themselves from their phones, they experienced similar symptoms that a drug addict may experience when going through withdraw. This study helps explain why so many of my classmates were agitated and upset when they were not by their phones.

Another study done by Psychology Today showed that cell phone addiction is more serious it may sound. While many adults love to joke about teens being addicted to their devices, it can actually be quite a serious thing. In a study conducted in England, almost half of the people surveyed admitted to having separation anxiety from their cell phones when they lose it or are away from it. People who are so consumed in their cell phones may even experience symptoms such as having the impulse to constantly check their phone, slipping grades due to cell phone consumption, and they even may experience the sensation of getting a cell phone notification when there really was no notification at all. Many of these potential symptoms are very similar to the symptoms addicts of drugs experience, further perpetuating the notion that cell phones can be highly addictive.

Granted, some of these “symptoms” of addiction could be due to numerous confounding variables. For example, I do not consider myself someone who constantly needs to be on their phone, yet even sometimes I find myself thinking my phone buzzed even when it didn’t. I feel as though we all think we hear one sound when in reality it is another from time to time. Also, the bit about cell phone addiction causing grades to slip is a bit of a shaky point. Grades can slip for a multitude of reasons such as stress, busy schedules, etc. Again, correlation does not mean causation, so just because someone may use their phone a lot and also have bad grades does not mean their phone usage is the reason for their grades. However, there is no denying that high cell phone usage can be very detrimental to some people and it can have negative effects.

It is crazy that cell phones have become a rather dangerous piece of technology. Some people have actually been impacted so badly by cell phone addiction that they have had to seek help from therapy groups . I am to have evaded this crippling addiction, and I hope that those who were not as lucky as me can soon kick their addiction and focus on the important things in life. If you do believe you are addicted and simply don’t know where to start in order to overcome it, this article will give you a good idea of where to start. Now, get off your phone and start living life!

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5 thoughts on “Cell Phone Addiction

  1. Heather Grace McDermott

    Unfortunately, I am one of those people. If I were to go to a doctor, I would be diagnosed with being addicted to my cell phone. The week before I left for Penn State, I had to send my phone to Apple to get it fixed. They had told me that it would be a 3-5 day wait. Unfortunately, it ended up taking 10 days to finally get to Findlay Commons. I couldn’t afford to rent a phone, so I was left phoneless. I experienced severe withdraw the first 4 days. I would steal my sisters phone and log into all my social media. I even tried to use my Ipod 4 to text. I had extreme anxiety. After I hit day 6, I began to care less that I didn’t have a phone. By day 7, I was noticing how addicted everyone around me was and was almost embarrassed for myself. The day that my phone arrived, I was bombarded with emails, texts, and notifications. I was so overwhelmed and ended up shutting my phone off for the whole day. The days following, I didn’t use my phone nearly as much and I had a lot less anxiety. For a while I was like you and was not emotionally attached to my phone. Now a month has passed and I am just as addicted as I was before. My withdraw process really does sound like a drug withdraw. Hopefully some day there will be a way where we have the ability to not be so addicted to technology. Maybe ill have to go to a therapy group like you stated in your post. (I really hope it doesnt get to that point).

  2. Valerie Lauren Murphy

    I think that the main reason behind why people are so addicted to their cellphones is that everything is becoming digitalized. Homework assignments and syllabi are posted online, and any changes would be announced on platforms such as Angel and/or Canvas. It’s almost necessary that we check our phones constantly because otherwise, we could end up being behind on our work for class or missing an important announcement from a professor. The constant reminders from professors to stay on top of our work, and check Webmail or Angel daily for changes to the class schedule creates a sense of pressure to login into our accounts and stare at our screens. Obviously, the examples I gave were all related to academic usage, but I also think that using Snapchat and Instagram frequently are behaviors that are brought on by this want to stay updated. Whether it be for something important (homework) or something seemingly irrelevant (who was at whatever party over the weekend) we have a desire to stay ahead with current events or news. Because this knowledge is so easily and readily accessible, it makes the seeking of it that much more natural and instinctive.

  3. Pedro de Mello

    While I recognise that cellphone use in class is potentially harmful to learning, I’m sure it lies on people’s psyche rather than on the use itself. I, for example, take notes on Evernote on my phone, since then i don’t have to haul archaic notebooks and pencils and pens and whatnot to class everytime, since my writing instrument is already with me at all times. I feel it’s safe to say that my academic performance, for one, has decreased by taking away my phone, since all I could do was sit there and try to memorise what was said. If not for the extra credit, I’d never part ways with my phone in class, since it’s how I actually learn outside of the classroom.

    I know many people are fixated with their Snapchat or Instagram or whatever it’s popular these days, but this is an example of how some people misusing an instrument can stain its reputation for everyone else. I have no idea how many people also take notes on their phones, but taking it out altogether deprives everyone from access to the comment wall, online resources such as Wikipedia and many other useful services that could actually enhance one’s learning experience.

  4. Natalie Elizabeth Burns

    Hi Margaret, great post! This is such a good topic to write on because it definitely is prevalent in society. I agree with you; when I heard about handing in my phone for extra credit I jumped at the chance. It’s honestly crazy to think about how phone addiction is compared to drug addiction — and honestly, a little sad. Drug addiction can kill people and here we are comparing it to phone addiction. I just found this link on a medical site about phone addiction which just adds to the seriousness of this “disease”. http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/addicted-your-smartphone-what-to-do If I’m being honest, I find it humorous that a technology addiction is on a classified medical site which instructions on how to “get better”.
    I wonder if there are any studies that can show if in 5, 10, 15 years phone addiction will be more prevalent in the world than drug addiction and if this is more or less harmful.
    Overall great job!!

    1. Margaret Marchok Post author

      Hi Natalie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! It is crazy that we live in a generation here some people simply can’t exist without their phones by their side. I find the article you gave to read to be very eye opening as well. It floored me that so many cell phone users spend their vacation time or early morning time staring at their screens. Personally, I get annoyed when my phone won’t stop buzzing when I’m trying to relax with my family or wake up in the morning. In fact, I used to check my phone the second I woke up and it would give me a big headache. Therefore, I have stopped doing that. It is rather comical that cell phone addiction is now a medical condition- what is the world coming to?! Hopefully people will soon realize that life do go on outside of their cell phone screen. Thank you for your thoughts!

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