Warning: You’re probably addicted to your phone

Via FIU Flickr.

Heidi Cuevas | Staff Writer

I caught myself reacting to an imaginary iMessage ping as an unconscious excuse to look at my phone, but denial is easier than confronting the problem. Phone addiction is a growing issue that is harder to overcome as college students.

Everyday tasks are effortless thanks to technology, but the consequences are problematic once new models release. Phones make it easier to look up the answers to any question. Apple Watches makes it even easier to access the internet, which explains why users heavily depend on these products. 

Convenience may be nice, but it can quickly become dangerous. 

Phone addiction is a new term, something easily ignored if everyone around you is on their phones, a common rationalization used to justify phone habits. For example, if everyone in the classroom is glued to their phones, it removes the guilt of ignoring the professor. This creates a routine that college students fall victim to. Constantly multitasking with devices in the classroom leads to short attention spans, inability to focus and missing announcements from the professor.

But it seems that, despite these precautions, there is an unbreakable bond between the phone and its user.

It’s tricky determining if you’re addicted to your phone. If you’re hearing imaginary pings when your phone is out of sight like I do, or scrolling endlessly, then it is time to take a tech break. 

A tech break seems impossible since COVID standardized digital use. Our old habits are shamed while the new way is glorified. Schools now depend on students having computers or tablets when a few years ago, students needed only a pencil and paper. The consequence is that smartphones are glued to the hands of elementary to college students for better or worse.

But the problem heavily worsens during the summer.

The effects of excess screen time drastically interfere with college students’ well-being. Expecting students to live their daily lives with friends harms those who feel left out. This quickly becomes an internal battle of self-worth difficult to overcome if phone usage is untreated. 

Since I’m taking classes during the Summer A semester, my summer vacation feels cut short compared to my friends. As I scroll through Instagram, everyone I know is at the beach and going to concerts while I’m stuck in my room, dreading the weeks ahead of me.  

This is known as FOMO, or the fear of missing out on experiences that others show on social media. This can be widely publicized on platforms or an event discussed among friends. If I find myself too occupied with work, family and homework, I feel like I’m missing out on core memories that I fear I will not make later on.

FOMO is dangerous in different aspects. It makes us want to participate in events we’ve never considered at first or negatively distorts how we view our lives. This is when phone addiction plays a significant role in whether or not we will fall victim to FOMO. Even though I’m not a big fan of the beach, seeing the new summer trends on my feed forces me to go. 

Avoiding these dangers is difficult. Nonetheless, taking breaks from social media, living in the moment, and having a routine can prevent extreme FOMO over the summer.

In short, convenience and prioritizing your well-being should not be battling one another. It’s time to take up a new hobby and minimize screen time as much as possible now that summer is here. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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