Setting smartphone boundaries can help balance health

As technology continues to evolve at astonishing rates allowing for new ways to make daily lives easier this new technology also comes with the risk of addiction, particularly surrounding the addiction to smartphones. 

“I have had students who absolutely, positively, won’t turn in their phone because they don’t feel like they could survive without it,” counselor Erin Gardner said. “My daughter is a 14 year old, and she always has however many Snapchats waiting for her, like you always need to look and you always need to reply and how much time that takes, so I just feel like there’s always something there that you need to look at.”

An average person usually spends around 3 hours and 15 minutes on their smartphone each day according to Exploding Topics. This number usually fluctuates on the weekends. Though The American Psychiatric Association doesn’t recognize phone overuse as an addiction, many mental health specialists as well as users themselves are beginning to recognize that people can get addicted to their phones. 

“I think phone addiction can be a serious problem. It just depends on how much it impedes on your daily life,” junior Keegan King said.

But what makes it such a serious problem? The National Library of Medicine finds that internet abuse often corresponds with anxiety, stress, depression and sleep deficiencies, and with most other addictions one can feel yourself becoming disconnected to the real world, losing relationships and just missing out on real life things that are unrelated to one’s phone.

“Social media has a lot to do with mental health. A lot of times what you’re looking at is the highlights of people’s lives,” Gardner said. “Oh, you’re at the party? Well, I wasn’t invited to the party, or I’m on this amazing vacation. Well, my family can’t afford that vacation. You’re constantly comparing yourself to someone else.”

The time spent online can lead to other health consequences.

“I stay up later, and I just stay up late because it’s harder to fall asleep. I think it’s harder to calm down after being on your phone,” King said.

So what do we do now? Our phones allow us to do many great things in modern society. It has become so integrated into our daily lives and our phones give us many benefits allowing us to do things we haven’t been able to do before. What we mainly need to focus on is maintaining a healthy balance between our phones and our lives, not allowing our phones to control our lives in unhealthy ways. Having screen time and limiting how your phone can get you addicted to turning off notifications, setting quiet times for when we drive, etc.

“Setting screen time limits is a good way, and trying to keep you and your friends in check during class to have it not impact your class time,” King said.

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