Plugged in next to me on my nightstand, my iPhone lit up, catching the corner of my eye. I decided it would be fine to take a short break from Calculus homework and find out who texted me. It was GroupMe – someone needed a babysitter for this Saturday. I couldn’t babysit, but instead of clicking my phone off, I tapped on Instagram, then Snapchat. I found myself scrolling through Pins of cookie recipes 45 minutes later.
Realizing that I had made no progress on my math, I forced myself to set my phone down. A minute later, a ding distracted me again.
Addiction is the physical and mental dependency on a particular thing. I never thought I had an addiction to my phone until I read the definition aloud to my little sister for her spelling pretest. I know I check my phone a lot; everyone does it. I didn’t realize it was a problem until I saw a plunge in my grades during last year and this year.
I often find myself spending time on my phone, when I should be studying. Last year as my classes started began to get harder, I learned that scrambling to finish my homework before class started wouldn’t cut it. This year, I still find myself at midnight without my homework done.
My “screen time,” as my parents called it, became an issue when I spent more time browsing new Netflix shows instead of studying. I wasted the night before my first Anatomy test flipping through the book while taking frequent breaks. Since I was uninterested in learning the sequence of a carbohydrate, I kept myself awake by pausing every few paragraphs to watch Tasty videos on Facebook. I sat at my desk for hours “studying.”
During my Anatomy test, I came to a definition I had seen before. It was on the flashcards I had made the night before. Was it unsaturated or saturated fats that are liquid at room temperature? I took a guess, frustrated with myself that I wasn’t disciplined in studying the night before. The next day I looked in Skyward and to my dismay, my grade dropped 7%.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Services, high school teenagers spend an average of 2.3 hours a day on social media, not including time spent texting. If that time went toward schoolwork, I wouldn’t find myself in class wishing I had studied more.
During class, I can’t help but peek when the teacher isn’t looking to see if I have any texts. Sitting at my desk doing homework, I try my best to resist taking a break to see what is new with Kylie Jenner on Snapchat. Even though I try to fight the urge, I always click the home button and swipe across unlocking my phone.
Our generation is especially prone to this problem. Most of my peers got smartphones in sixth grade. We have been using most of the apps every day for years – which is why this habit has been so hard to break.
Older generations weren’t dependant on phones at such an early age. My older sister used her Palm Pixie until sophomore year of high school, which sounds unimaginable to today’s high schoolers.
Studying takes discipline. For some, having a phone next to them is not a problem. If you are like me, then the only way to get homework done is to turn the phone off and place it as far away as possible.