Mobile Phone Usage Among the Teenagers

On average, 68% of teenagers keep their phones within reach at night and roughly 29% of teens sleep with them in their bed. Every day teens and kids are becoming more and more dependent on smartphones. There are many positive and negative effects of children using phones. While phones are improving and becoming more advanced, kids’ mental health is declining, sleep is being lost, test scores and homework grades are improving, and in-class participation is increasing. 
One way teens can reduce the chances of having a mental illness is to stop using phones between the hours of 11 pm to 4 am. Between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am, less dopamine is created while they sleep, making them feel less happy and have no energy. In an interview with Doctor Rich, he explains, “Mental illnesses are diverse, affect different individuals in different ways, and in most cases result from the influences of many factors from genetics to environment to the events in the individual's life. If we don't measure many factors affecting the individual, we are missing many pieces of the puzzle” (Seay). Some people believe that mental illnesses don’t just come from the use of cell phones, but rather from what people use them for.  There have been multiple studies conducted on the use of phones in correlation with mental illnesses. Doctor Booker says, “ Most of the research that I focus on looks at social media use and mental health, and unfortunately, the findings are mixed. There are some studies that find either positive or no effects of social media. Others find negative effects.  Some studies look at the time and find negative effects, while others examine the content and find lesser effects” (Seay). There has been a lot of controversy in the past few years about whether the use of cell phones creates them or makes them worse. Over time, as technology and tests become more accurate, there will be able to get a more accurate reading on the effects of phones.  Avoiding using a smartphone is one of the things teens have to worry about and change, but there is another thing they need to work on. 
The average amount of sleep teens get each night is around seven hours, but they should be getting around nine hours of sleep per night. One of the main contributors to sleep loss in teens is having smartphones near them at night. Lynette Vernon says,  “Both night-time mobile phone use and poor sleep behavior underwent positive linear growth over time. Increased night‐time mobile phone use was directly associated with increased externalizing behavior and decreased self‐esteem and coping.” Kids and teens are constantly losing sleep over constant smartphone use. Nowadays, kids are becoming more and more dependent on smartphones.  Lynette Vernon explains, “Mobile phones are an essential tool for youths’ social interaction. Many adolescents report phones are indispensable to their social life and that they ‘can't live without their phones.”Many kinds of research conducted over the last few years showed that almost 80 percent of teens and kids now have access to smartphones. Lynette Vernon says, “This time spent on mobile phones can displace adolescents’ other essential activities, including sleep.  In addition to sleep displacement, Cain and Gradisar theorized other possible mechanisms for sleep disruption from mobile phone use: melatonin suppression due to exposure to bright light from screens, and sleep disturbance due to the content of messages received pre-bedtime increasing cognitive and emotional arousal.” Since teens are still growing and need to get sleep, losing sleep and staying on their phones is harming them in the long run. This is just another example of how smartphones affect teens negatively, but there are some positive effects as well. 
Not everything to do with smartphones has been bad, as there are some positive effects. In-class participation and homework and test scores have gone up since smartphones have been allowed in class. St Gerard explains, “Nowadays, phones are used for more than just communication, they are used for social media, music, and apps that help kids learn at their own pace.” Most schools now have some sort of device that students do their school work on. Alice Armstrong says, “According to a 2012 study middle, schoolers reported by Verizon had a 39 % of their school work on their phones and 31% on their tablets. There is not enough funding for each student to have their own, so the number is not as high as some would like it to be.” Since technology has advanced, so should the curriculum being taught in school. Nowadays they should be including computers or even phones. Engel writes, “One study conducted used ARS, which is an Audience Response System. The Audience Response System worked as a quick and easy tool to help students learn at their own pace and try and figure out the answers on their own.” Alice Armstong explains, “Significantly more students who use mobile devices in the classroom express a stronger interest in STEM subjects than students who do not use these devices in the classroom. Two out of three students who use laptops in class say that it helps them learn math and science better, and more than half of students who use tablets in class say it helps them learn math and science better” (40).  In many studies conducted, there has been a huge increase in test scores and class participation in the last few years. Alice Armstrong writes, “According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, teachers nearly “universally” agree that laptops and tablets have been shown to improve class participation. Researchers credit technology as a primary method to empower students to take control of their own learning” (41). If there was enough funding for different types of technology, there could be an even bigger increase in test scores and in-class participation. As shown in the research, students like to learn by using their phones or computers, it gives them a sense of being able to learn at their own pace.  
The use of technology in and out of school has had positive and negative effects on teens and kids. Spending too much time on smartphones can cause a decrease in mental health, sleep, and could increase test scores and homework grades. Using smartphones in class can help teens and kids learn at their own pace and be able to learn whenever and wherever they are at that time. As technology increases and more people start using them, teens and kids should learn how to use them responsibly and not go overboard with the amount of time they spend using their smartphones.


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