Secret addiction

How technology is taking over teens lives


Photo by Parker Carley

Students are using and being attached to their phones and technology more than ever before. How much should we be ‘allowed’ to use?

Teens spend almost as much time on social media every day as they do actually attending school: almost 7 hours of screen media time versus 8 hours in school each day, according to And that isn’t counting the time we spend on screens for our classwork or homework.

Take me for example. The first thing I do when I wake up is grab my phone and open a streaming platform like TikTok or YouTube before school. After school, I drop my bag on the floor and immediately pull out my phone and check social media to see if I got any notifications. Before I go to bed my eyes are attached to my phone screen until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. When asking others whether their behaviors were similar to mine, every person I asked quickly answered “yes,” as if being attached to a screen is second nature to us all. 

But is that a bad thing?

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that helps kids, parents and schools navigate media, seems to think so, and so do I. Their 2019 study is all over the internet reminding parents that today’s teens are on their phones a LOT. 

But it’s not just teens. The influence the internet has on our generation also applies to children who are still in elementary school. Children that young should not be so reliant on technology and the fact that they are is very scary to me. As technology continues to expand and improve, it makes me think that one day we will be so surrounded by it that the normal way to live will seem nonexistent which is crazy!

When I am babysitting my little cousins who are 6 and 8 all they want to do is go on their iPads or take my phone from me to watch TikTok videos. At such a young age they are addicted to technology which appalled me. Tech companies try to relate to younger audiences and clearly it is working.  

Some days I feel so overwhelmed with my phone that I want to delete all of my apps and socials, but there’s a voice in the back of my head saying “no, you’ll regret it.” What will I regret? Why is it so important for me to see what everyone else is posting to Instagram or Snapchat? How I have not noticed how I struggle from an addiction to my phone? I bring it with me everywhere I go and when I forget it at home I feel like a part of me is missing, and that truly terrifies me. 

I think part of the problem is social media and how people constantly feel the need to share every positive aspect of their lives in hopes of making others jealous. That’s not really why most people post, but I get stuck in that mindset that all these people I follow have such amazing lives and I don’t. I sit at home on my phone watching their lives, while they go out and live them. I have cried several times because I’m not as pretty as the girls on TikTok or I don’t have “the life,” but I still check their accounts every day even though I know it will make me jealous. 

Phones are truly an addiction and once you get your hands on one you never want to let it go because it holds everything you deem important (social media, music, games, photos, etc.). What if it all went away? What if society lived without technology? Would life be better or would it be worse? I personally think it would be 1,000 times better. I wouldn’t be so stressed out having to pick which 3-5 pictures I’m going to post out of the 100 I took. I feel like I’m on a stage and the audience is all staring directly at me, judging every move I make which is not healthy in the least. 

I’m not asking you to throw your phones in the trash, but try to take a step back and look at the influence your phone has on you. It’s easy to get wrapped up in social media and forget to look at the world around you. Take one day every week, every month, or even every year, to be free of your phone and see the impact it makes on your life. Is it positive?