Teens and Screens

This student plays a game  on her phone while at school, as do many students.

Caitlin Genschoreck

This student plays a game on her phone while at school, as do many students.

Caitlin Genschoreck, Staff Writer

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How many hours do you think you spend on your phone per day? The average screen time for a teen is 6 ½ hours a day, excluding schoolwork or homework. There is no doubt that technology is changing every day and becoming more common to today’s students.

 

Last Monday, the Rocky Mountain High School Media Center showed a movie called “Screenagers.” I watched the full movie and noticed many things about screen time. Often times, teenagers feel pressured to have the latest technology. Studies show that the reason teenagers are building addictions to technology is due to a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is known as the “pleasure pleasing chemical.” When a person looks at a screen, this chemical is released in the brain causing a good-feeling sensation. This is how the addiction is built.

 

Schools around the country have tried different methods of getting students off of their phones in school. The ideas vary from giving kids 100% freedom to locking phones up for the whole day. One teacher in the movie states, “I want to teach my high school students about self-control. I let them keep their phones and they can use them whenever they please. The majority of students do not abuse this privilege and get work done first, before getting on their phone.”

 

One of the strongest debates about technology is the damage it is doing to kids’ brains. Because some of this technology is so new, the level of harm is somewhat unknown. One thing that has definitely changed is the frequency of extra-curriculars among students. Students are not doing things outside of school more than ever before. Some benefits that students are losing from this include self-confidence, better behavior, and higher grades.

 

Kids now want to go home and play video games or watch videos instead of joining clubs or sports. The average teen boy spends 11.3 hours a week on video games. That is a total of 1 ½ school days. It is now popular to play violent and gory video games. These types of video games were originally designed to desensitize soldiers going into the military. It was intended to prepare people for war, and now young children are seeing these games.

 

One struggle that has come up in recent years is discipline from parents to their children. Parents did not grow up with the types of technology that is common now, so they often do not know how to control it. Adults are now found to have addictions to their “smart” devices just as bad as the younger generations. The most important thing to remember is that parents and their children need to have trust when it comes to the internet, in addition to trust with social media.

 

Social media has taken over the lives of many young girls. These young girls are overwhelmed with pictures of models and celebrities. Frequently, these pictures are photo shopped and edited to create an unrealistic image. Girls, and boys, see these images and try to pursue a “perfect picture.”

 

This movie opened my eyes about screen time and the addiction to technology. It is a real addiction and there are now treatment centers available to those who need it. It is important to remember that building connections outside of the technology world is crucial. Interacting with people builds great life skills. Overall, people need to remember that there is more in the world outside of their smartphone.