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The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

Phone addiction is taking over your life

Alana Tambunan
Three devices are displayed on a desk with the phrase “Get Off Your Phone” separated among the devices.

In the United States, according to Backlinko, almost half of adolescents ages 13-18 have over eight hours of screen time daily. That’s around 56 hours of screen time weekly -more than a full-time job. According to My Kids Vision, the recommended amount of screen time daily is around two hours. This means children spend four times the recommended time on electronic devices.

The average person receives just over seven hours of sleep. Globally, the average screen time is six hours and forty minutes. This leaves only ten hours of an average person’s day without screen time. In other words, the average person spends 40% of their waking day on electronic devices. Instead of living in the moment, many spend their days on their devices.

Since the pandemic, screen time has risen dramatically due to screens being the main method of communication and education. This has caused many to become addicted to their phones and drastically increase their screen time.

This begs the question: How does screen time affect people’s lives?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, too much screen time can affect one’s amount of sleep, cause mood changes, and alter the brain.

For freshman Jochebed Lindarto, she said screen time has affected her amount of sleep and her mood.

“I used to fall asleep regularly a little after midnight,” Lindarto said. “I feel like the main cause of that was my phone. It was difficult to put down my phone and try and go to bed. I’d always stay up scrolling on Instagram or playing games.”

A phone on a desk displaying a daily screen time of 14 hours and 27 minutes on May 4, 2024. (Alana Tambunan)

Many people deal with the addiction of scrolling on their devices. Due to this common addiction, many people have called this doomscrolling. In reality, it’s not just scrolling endlessly for hours. Doomscrolling is also defined as looking for negative media purposefully.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of doomscrolling is “the activity of spending a lot of time looking at your phone or computer and reading bad or negative news stories.”

Freshman Rochelle Tjakrawinata said she finds herself doomscrolling when comparing her art to others online.

“There was this art trend where artists post their art online with the caption saying ‘support a blank-year-old artist’ with there usually being really good art alongside it,” Tjakrawinata said. “If artists were younger than me, I’d find myself comparing my art to theirs and wondering how they got so good and where I went wrong. I always felt bad about myself for no reason after seeing them.”

Phone addiction and social media not only impact people’s mental health but also affects their work ethic. In a recent poll conducted at Rancho Cucamonga High School, 100 RCHS students participated. Of the 100, 97% of students responded that they procrastinated in favor of going on their phone instead.

A pie graph with 100 responses from students at RCHS says that 97% of students procrastinate on their work to go on their phone instead. (Alana Tambunan)

Freshman Angelina Tran, a student in Academic Decathlon, reported that her work productivity has decreased.

“Instead of dutifully working on my assignments, I spent hours on games and chatting with friends; the most I spent doing that was nine hours straight,” Tran said. “As a result, the increased screen time usually means that my work productivity is next to none.”

Despite the various cons of phones, they are essential to everyday life with the tools they provide.

“I also use a lot of studying apps on my devices such as Sora, Quizlet, and more,” Tran continued. “Whilst I’m usually unproductive, sometimes [my screentime] also reflects the amount [of time] I’ve studied as well.”

Rancho Cucamonga High School’s Wellness Center intervention specialist Ms. Arianna Santoyo shared how she needs her phone to contact others.

“I do feel a little bit anxious sometimes when [my phone] is dead,” Santoyo said. “It’s more out of a concern for safety because I have a son. Making sure my phone is charged is important.”

I can feel lethargic; a bit cloudy mentally if I find myself doomscrolling. Also a general lack of energy and motivation [when doomscrolling].”

— Harry Riley

Another intervention specialist, Mr. Darius Riley, commented on how phones are vital to his work.

“I wouldn’t say I’m addicted [to my phone], however, having to keep up with the times; I need it for everything I do,” Riley said. “If I’m being mindful of other people as well, in terms of like being like to contact me or someone else, [my phone] has to be in the vicinity.”

Phones can be a double-edged sword by providing many useful tools in the modern world, but they can also be used to negatively impact people’s lives. Instead of using devices to scroll mindlessly and be unproductive, there are alternative things to do.

I feel like I’m not living my life to the fullest anymore if I go on my phone for long periods. I feel more tired and sort of numb because of my habits. After spending hours on my phone and going out of my room, I feel like I just woke up from a fever dream.”

— Rochelle Tjakrawinata

“In the time that you want to be on your phone scrolling like Instagram or TikTok, replace that behavior with reading or going for a walk,” Santoyo said. “Replacement behaviors will encourage you to not be on your phone as much.”

Regardless of whether or not one uses their phone for productivity or just to simply make time pass, everyone needs to find a balance.

“Just find a balance, a balance every day if possible, between the real world, physical objects, and human interactions,” Riley said.

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About the Contributor
Alana Tambunan
Alana Tambunan, Staff Reporter

Alana Tambunan is a freshman at RCHS and this is her first year in journalism. She is a staff reporter of the school newspaper, The Cat’s Eye. Her favorite thing about journalism is being able to write stories and talking to people about their experiences. When she is not writing stories, she loves drawing her favorite characters and listening to music.

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