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The Deadly Evils that Lurk in Cell Phones

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Ding… Ding… Buzz… Buzz… on the table, in our laps, or in our pockets, the United States has become way too familiar with these sounds informing us about notifications on our cell phones.

People would rather go a day without food and water to simply keep a stable Wi-Fi connection. Although many may still argue that they are not addicted to their cell phones, once a notification sound dings, our fingers are quick to react and pick up our cell phones. We need to tremendously limit or simply balance the amount of time spent on our cell phones due to the larger enemy found in the notifications our phone feeds us with. 

If we take a closer look at how much time we spend on our cell phones, it will be astonishing, as the numbers don’t lie. We are addicted to our cell phones, and that is a straight fact.

In the online article titled “Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A Battle for Your Time,” Trevor Haynes explains that our addiction to our cell phones can easily be proven with statistics collected around the world quoting that “the US spends an average of 2-4 hours per day tapping, typing, and swiping on their devices—that adds up to over 2,600 daily touches.”

Americans are addicted to their cell phones; we went from about 46 minutes on the phone per day in 2011 to now about two to four hours per day tapping around on our devices.

Don’t feel alone, as teens are not the only ones who may be addicted to their cell phones—scrolling through their phone for two to four hours for teenagers is little to nothing.

Students around The Shakopee School district spend a lot of time on their cell phones. Using Apple’s feature called Screen Time proves that most kids around the district spent an astonishing average of about six to eight hours on their cell phones. What is keeping both teens and adults hooked to cell phones?

 Social media gives us the sensation of never being alone. There are more than two billion potential connections with people from around the world that we carry around in our pockets today. This causes the amount of time spent on our cell phones.

Most parents spend 2.77 consistent hours tending to and taking care of their children; this is a little bit less time than what is spent on our cell phones. Losing one’s phone is about the equivalent of losing a child six years of age. Losing one’s cell phone can be very traumatic to some.

The lengths people will go to to get their cell phones found is extraordinary. Misplacing the phone for a short period causes people to have a disturbing experience or state of mild panic until it’s been found.

Trevor Haynes elaborates that “about 73% of people claim to experience this unique flavor of anxiety.” We are undergoing a battle for our time. Inside our brains lurks a chemical called dopamine.

Dopamine is produced by our brain to perform the task of maintaining our motivating behavior. The substance dopamine is released when you take a bite of delicious pizza at your favorite place, after you exercise, or even after a typical reaction to the opposite gender. This last task of dopamine is key to why we are addicted to our cell phones. 

The interest of dopamine has recently been heavily studied as more and more people are wondering what is causing us to give up food to maintain a reliable internet connection on our cell phones.

A study done by USA TODAY found out that, “people are more willing to give up food, sleep, and sex than to lose their Internet connections.” The question that everyone is trying to answer is why can’t we stop unlocking our phones. The answer lurks in the little notification sound we hear before we unlock our cell phones.

Most people would rather go a day without food than lose their cell phones. The instant gratification we get when we receive that text message keeps us looking at our cell phones.

Adults and teens across the world are starting to realize how websites and apps like Facebook have clearly instructed developers to create attention-grabbing notifications and to keep your fingers clicking and getting hooked on the app. There are always upsides and downsides to everything.

Gambling is fun, yet too much gambling can be devastatingly dangerous. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with social media and cell phones; it’s the imbalance of needing to see that screen light up.

If you’re sitting at dinner with your friends and you are texting someone who is not there, that is a problem; that’s an addiction. When sitting at a meeting that you intended to listen to and keeping your cell phone on the table face up, you are sending a message to that room that you don’t care.

Just place your phone away. We can manage this imbalance of time on our cell phones by simply disabling the little buzz in our pocket, and we can enjoy the lengthy laughter and joy and deep conversations at a dinner table with friends or family.

Written by Collins Omweri – Shakopee High School

Works Cited.

“Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A Battle for Your Time.” Science in the News, 30 Apr. 2018, sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/. Accessed 12. Feb 2019

Stibel, Jeff. “Why You’re Addicted to Your Phone … and What to Do about It.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 3 July 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/2017/07/03/why-youre-addicted-your-phone-and-what-do/443448001/. Accessed 12. Feb 2019

“Why We’re All Addicted to Texts, Twitter and Google.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 11 Sept. 2012, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-wise/201209/why-were-all-addicted-texts-twitter-and-google. Accessed 12. Feb 2019

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