The Distraction That’s Killing Us | Teen Ink

The Distraction That’s Killing Us

November 20, 2019
By Peyton3121 BRONZE, Thornton, Colorado
Peyton3121 BRONZE, Thornton, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

We all probably have one, ranging anywhere from a few inches to half a foot in length. Used for anything from communication, to gaming, to browsing, the smartphone has been a technological marvel in recent history. There’s just one problem: they’re killing teenagers.

With over 80% of Americans alone owning a smartphone, they are extremely common. They have influenced the way we live, communicate, explore.

But not always in a good way. Looking from before smart phones to now, humans now put almost five times as much stress on their necks when actively engaged in their smartphones than just the normal stance. When started at a younger age, this can lead to neck pain and problems later in life. 

Focusing on just the teenagers with ownership of a smartphone, the statistics begin to turn sour, and reveal an ugly truth.

In recent years, teen depression symptoms have climbed up 33%, with teen suicide attempts rising up 23 percent. This has nothing to do with ethnicity or wealth status, according to psychology professor Jean M. Twenge. The only connection between all cases? They all owned smartphones.

Mental and physical strain on teenagers doesn’t stop just there. Teenagers are becoming more and more attached to their smartphones, which eventually begins to affect their sleep schedule.

Teenagers that spend over five hours on their smartphones a day are now 51% more likely to sleep less than seven hours. Since teens are recommended to receive 9-9.5 hours of sleep a day, lack of sleep can lead to shifts in mood, behavior, or even cognitive ability. 

With the knowledge that more and more teens are owning smartphones, one would think that there would be more communication, right?

Well, no, sociologists now believe that with the increase in phones, people are now losing the ability to have, “deeper, more spontaneous conversations with others.” This means that with the presence of phones, people aren’t quite having many connective conversations anymore.

There doesn’t even seem to be an area of human life the smartphone does not affect; there are now negative effects in people’s relationships.

With a smartphone present during a conversation that has meaning behind it, people have now reported that their amount of trust in what the other person is saying has gone down, and that less empathy toward the other person is shown, which means that a person does not have necessarily be engaged in a phone activity to experience the negative effects.

But, there is something not mentioned yet. It’s probably the scariest, most dangerous side effect of teenagers with phones, and it happens every day. It’s distracted driving.

With smartphones becoming ever present, teens are bound to talk or text on their phones while behind the wheel, even if illegal. With phones being a huge role in almost 60% of crashes involving teens, the threat is becoming deadlier.

Phones can be very helpful, of course. But, with teenagers becoming more connected to their phones, the health risks start to appear. The mental problems arise. The neck pain sets in. The distracted driving causes more accidents. And people struggle to communicate.

Maybe teens should start setting down the phone. They need to talk to each other, living in the moment. People are only teeenagers once, maybe we shouldn’t pass the opportunity by with a rectangular killer. 

The author's comments:

This was written by a high school senior in Thornton, Colorado. He was trying to raise awareness about the dangers of phone abuse and addiction.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.