Are You A “Screenager”?

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  “Screenager” is a term used to describe students and young people who are ‘addicted’ to their phones, but; does this phrase hold any truth? Liberty High School is known as a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) school; but not all schools are like this. In fact, some teachers here LHS are not too thrilled about phones being in the classroom. So, are phones becoming an issue? Or is it the applications on the phone that’s becoming a distraction?

     Having a BYOD school means students are allowed to have their personal devices such as phones and tablets for class use, however the message of BYOD has been misinterpreted to having a device in class for other reasons. These reasons have become more about being on a device when the time is convenient and not when it’s appropriate. 

     While my time at Liberty has been short so far, I have noticed several things involving devices happening. While taking some observations at LHS, I have noticed that students have been taking advantage of having a device in school. By advantage I mean that what has been done on the devices have not been school-related. While students have been on their devices in class they’ve been on social media, playing video games, and using visual entertainment. As of now, there are even some teachers who are asking themselves about how they can handle the ongoing problem—students constantly being on their devices. 

     While talking to Ms. Righthouse; a Geography and Psychology teacher here at LHS, I found some very interesting aspects of how phones are being misused. Mrs. Righthouse explained that while being BYOD school is helpful, there are many challenges. Of course, not every student has a device in their possession, so can teachers really expect everyone to be prepared? Another problematic thing is that teachers can’t always get access to a library or a computer cart for a classroom so is it realistic to rely on technology for our educations? All though there are many solutions to get around these things there’s another factor, and that factor is that having the ability to be apart of a BYOD school is a PRIVILEGE

     A majority of students and young people are not aware of how to properly use a device, and this also goes into how many people can not un-attach themselves from their devices. While technology is becoming more present the human race needs to learn how to co-exist with these common changes involving devices. So the question Ms. Righthouse presented to me was “How will students know when the appropriate and inappropriate times to be on a phone are?”. 

     Another teacher I talked to here at LHS was Mr. Roth, a World History and Geography teacher. Mr. Roth explained to me that while being BYOD is very beneficial, a good tool, and is teaching 21st century skills; there is a bigger problem at hand. Many students are withdrawing themselves from classes and are missing out on the opportunity of their education. While Mr. Roth thinks this is an issue with school he also believes that it has more to do with it being a societal problem. Because everyone is addicted, I asked him what he does to handle the phone issues and he responded with a very good point: he stated that “It all depends on knowing when to fight the fight.” Usually, a subtle sign to put the device away is as good a way as any, but it all depends on how big the distraction is. He is a firm believer that being strict may not always be the best approach. There is always constant fear among teens of missing out on the new trends or texts that they get notified of, so is it worth trying to stop a societal issue that has spread so far?

     As I concluded each interview, I asked the question to both teachers of what they think could be done to decrease the issue of phone addiction. They both said that they believe part of the battle is knowing when the appropriate time to be on a device is, and knowing how to use that time wisely. Another solution could be issuing out devices starting freshman year to have throughout your four years of high school, as well as teaching classes on how to use a device in a classroom and in the workplace. In the end, what it comes down to is that it’s not the phone that’s a distraction— not even the things on the phone that cause the distraction, but rather the power that devices have on humans.

So, what can you do to help stop yourself from becoming a “Screenager”? 

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