Can students stay off their phones? Research says ‘No’

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Elizabeth Cyr, a English and journalism teacher, noticed her fourth block students were constantly on their phones. She tried an experiment to figure out how many notifications her students get in her class. The exercise was meant to show students the level of distraction caused by these devices. The aftermath of this experiment left students having to keep their cellphones in a bin. High school students are so childish that some teachers installed shoe door hangers for smartphones.

We don’t want to face it, but phone addiction has caused teenagers to have communication issues. According to a 2018 Common Sense survey, “Most teens now say their favorite mode of communication is texting (35%).” This percentage causes students to have face-to-face communication issues with everyone.

In other words, teenagers have become way too attached to their phones. When they become so addicted to their phones that they feel anxious without them, psychiatrists call this “nomophobia.” This dissociative order causes the diagnosed to feel their smartphones help them escape their realities, but in an unhealthy way.

“I noticed that just about every student had a cell phone out to read text messages or check voicemails as they walked around — whether they had friends nearby or not,” according to Mark Glaser, an executive director of This means students do not interact with their friends like they used to before their smartphone.

Nomophobia causes relationships to bend, possibly break, which could also cause a teenager to become distressed. A student would seriously put their friendship on the line for a smartphone.

Teenagers see it during their classes. Kaitlin Miller, a sophomore, explains there’s about three to five students on their phone during class. Phones can cause a disruption to learning when the notification sound or vibrate goes off, it can distract all around. It causes students to become anxious or impulsed to checking their devices. The impulse can happen throughout the whole classroom from one ping. Teenagers seriously care about their cell phones more than their educations?

“Although these notifications are generally short in duration, they can prompt task-irrelevant thoughts, or mind-wandering, which has been shown to damage task performance,” according to Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Smartphones cause students to pay less attention and lose strength in their relationships.

Look around and you will see more and more students fall to the effects of nomophobia. You don’t need a doctor’s diagnosis. Students should not have to be treated like children. A little self control goes a long way: Keep your device in their backpack.

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