Commentary: Phone addiction is real


Jangra Works, Creative Commons "Handcuff and Locked With Smart Phone" by Jangra Works is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Phone addiction is a serious issues that suffers from a lack of attention.

Abhayjit Singh, De Anza High School

Over the past decade, technology has improved dramatically and its role has shifted into being part of everyday routines. Today, an astounding 91 percent of the world has access to a phone, and people use their phones for pretty much everything. Excessive use of phones has become an increasing concern, and it can become an addiction with serious side effects.  

Phone addiction is a serious issue that needs to be talked about more. People don’t see phone addiction as serious as, for example, drug addiction or gambling. A lot of people don’t know or won’t admit that they are addicted to phones.   

Studies show that excessive  phone use can seriously affect a person’s mental health. 

In the article “Phone Addiction Is Real,” Forbes writer Alice G. Walton cites a Center for Disease Control studying showing that among teenagers – heavy users of phones and other screen devices – the rate of severe depression between 2010 and 2015 rose 58 percent and the rate of suicide rose by 65 percent. 

People also might say that people need their phones for work/life-related pursuits. Maybe, but we aren’t talking primarily about how or why people need to use their phones; we are talking about how long people use them.  Phone addiction is similar to any other addiction. For example, a drug addict can’t go very long without wanting drugs. That’s just how phone addiction also works.  Someone who is addicted can’t put their phone down for a little while without having the urge to go back on their phone.

In the article “Phone Addiction Is Real,” Walton notes: “Young people give up their phones, found that they performed worse on mental tasks when they were in “withdrawal” and felt physiological symptoms, including increased heart rates and blood pressure. “When you take phones away from many people,” Walton wrote, “ they will start to get defensive and act crazy over their phone.”             

People will say it’s not an addiction, it’s just a strong habit. Besides, good things happen on phones. Gamblers say that, too, especially when they win once and keep going back. That’s how you become addicted to gambling. And that’s how you become addicted to phones. 

That’s how denial works.

Before the health effects of excessive phone use and phone addiction become worse, we should have real conversations about these issues. There should be more studies. And everyday phone users, especially teens, should examine their own use with a willingness to consider the possible harm that logging hours and hours of use daily can do. That message should come through loud and clear.