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The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

Are You Addicted To Your Phone?

Isaac Critchfield
Photo of a student staring at their phone in journalism class taken on November 13, 2023.

Phone addiction affects 239.4 million people, which is 6.3% of the 3.8 billion phone users around the world. Many problems have been found, one being “nomophobia”, the fear of being without your devices. This problematic and obsessive use of mobile devices has been found to have higher rates in teens. An average of 16% of adolescents are addicted to their phones, are you one of them?

An addiction is an unhealthy impulse or excessive use of something, whether it’s a substance or a behavior. An example of a substance addiction could be an alcohol addiction, and a behavioral addiction could be a gambling addiction. A phone addiction would be a behavioral addiction because it affects a person’s life in negatively obsessive and compulsive ways, making the victim feel as though they cannot be without their phone.

Usage of phones and other devices only got higher after 2019. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, many parts of our day-to-day lives were made accessible through screens. Schooling was done online through Zoom calls, and assignments were made through sites such as Canvas and Google Classroom. Although technology saved a part of our education in a way we were still learning, the long exposure to screens wasn’t beneficial for adolescents.

We randomly approached anonymous students from Lafayette High School and asked about their daily average screen time. Screen time can be an indicator of phone addiction, so the more time spent on a phone, the higher the risk of phone addiction there is. The highest screen time we heard was 9 and a half hours, the lowest was around 4 hours, and many people had an average of around 6 or 7 hours. We asked students with higher screen times if they felt they had a phone addiction.

“Honestly, yeah I probably do. My phone goes everywhere with me. It seriously goes everywhere, and one time, I freaked out because I forgot my phone at home and still, I had to go to school,” a sophomore student at Lafayette said.

Signs of addiction to your phone could be constant urges to use your phone, unsuccessful attempts to limit screen time, and staying on your phone for long periods without any benefits for yourself. Research done by the National Library of Medicine has concluded that many mental health conditions are linked to phones. The researcher does not imply that one causes another, but risks towards cognitive functions and the reduced amount of gray matter in the brain have been proven to be some of the results of phone addiction. Losing gray matter can result in substance abuse or behavioral addictions in the future.

Another anonymous student told the Lafayette Times “Yes, I have a phone addiction. I’m on my phone while I’m sitting in class all the time. One time, my teacher took my phone away for the whole day, two days in a row. I’ve even skipped school because I forgot my phone. In the past week, I have [spent] 15 hours and 30 minutes on the watermelon game, and my high score is 3,600. Beat that!”

Ending a phone addiction is a good way to repair or strengthen the brain and relationships. Help can be found online, but many other ways to limit phone usage exist. Apple and Android phones have settings that limit the time you can spend on your phone. You could take a “phone fast” and spend time away from your phone. Reducing use is the most effective way to stop spending too much time on your phone and stop feeling “addicted.”

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About the Contributors
Maggie Colthurst, Staff Writer
Maggie Colthurst is a freshman at Lafayette High School in the Pre-Engineering and SCAPA programs. She is excited to work for the Lafayette Times and find great stories to write about. She loves to swim, play guitar, and participate in theater and archery. She listens to lots of music and goes to concerts as much as she can.
Isaac Critchfield, Photography Editor
Isaac Critchfield is a sophomore at Lafayette High School enrolled in the SCAPA program, majoring in visual arts. This is Isaac’s second year in Journalism and he strives to contribute with his cartoons and photography. Isaac likes to dive and rock climb and frequently enjoys video games and doing art. Isaac is a part of the Lafayette swim and dive team and would like to join the volleyball team this spring. Isaac’s goals for this year are to continue his cartoon series “Get With The Times” and become a copy editor for the Journalism team.