Screens & Teens

By MADELINE MECCA

Seeing a group of kids without a phone tends to be a rare sighting today. Whether it is hiding a cellphone behind a book, or just walking down the street, teens today are infatuated with what’s happening in the lives of others through a screen.

According to Pew Research Center online, 81% of teens online are engaged in some sort of social media interaction whether it is Facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest, etc. This statistic doesn’t include owning a cellphone and the use of text messages or iMessage. When teens are only exposed to relationships through technology, being out in the real world is a struggle for them. But this isn’t necessarily the teenager’s choice.

In today’s society, if you don’t own a cellphone, students tend to miss important things such as homework reminders, texts from a coach, or emails which inform them of college acceptances or other important information that is essential to their lives. A child’s life exists within their phone because of necessity; every update they receive for an important event or something vital is unearthed through technology.

 

Yasmin, a junior at Oceanside High School said “So many problems spread through social media so like it decreases the chances of having a good relationship.” The way something is perceived through social media tends to be taken out of context of what is really trying to be said. Teens lose friendships over problems that occur on social networking.  Arguments through a screen take away from working problems out face to face and gaining certain social skills that have helped the older generations.

ipad in classroom

However, being in school does not help the problem. Although students who have cell phones aren’t supposed to use them, there aren’t many repercussions for using a phone during class time. Dylan, a junior at Oceanside, says that his teachers allow his phone to be out and he’s never gotten it taken away during class.

The problem that is also faced during school is that students are granted iPads upon entering the middle school. Starting with this year’s sophomore class, all students receive iPads once they entered the middle school and are to use it throughout high school for learning purposes. But this isn’t always the case. Students have discovered ways to get games and social media added onto their iPads. They also have access to the internet, so if the app doesn’t download, Safari allows communication between students or a chance for them to play games. Even though this is supposed to be a more hands on way to learn, not all of the outcomes are positive.

Camryn, a freshman student, says “Since I got into middle school I’ve only really known learning through an iPad. I feel like I’m not really part of the real world and focused on what’s going on through the internet. I only know people through social media, not in real life, it’s weird.”

This doesn’t apply only to students who learn with iPads. When the seniors were in middle school the iPhone 4 was introduced and along came apps such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Since they have been in middle school, these students have adapted to communicating with people through a screen which has greatly affected their social skills. “I feel like I’ve lost a lot of friendships. I get awkward in person and haven’t learned social skills through my phone,” says junior student, Sharon.

Not only do students lack communal intelligence, but they notice that they lack it when having to speak face to face.  They claim they feel “awkward” or “unengaged” when having a conversation outside of the world of technology. All one can ask now is, “What will be for the future if technology continues to advance?”