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From the Stone Soup Blog 

Smartphone Addiction:  One Middle Schooler’s Perspective

When I look at my classmates’ faces, absorbed in their smartphones, they look eerily expressionless, even hollow. Their eyes look tired and droopy; their faces look drained and sulking. They look like they have no choice. It is almost as if they are compelled by some unseen force to use every second of the time limit their parents have set on their devices. I cannot help but think of them as stuck in quicksand. They are not even trying to get out of it! I think my fellow classmates, and most middle school students and teens, are addicted to smartphones.

Smartphones have taken over our society. According to 2019 data, 53% of American children own a smartphone by the time they are eleven. Eighty-four percent of teenagers own a smartphone. I have read many news reports in which researchers claim that smartphones can be fun and educational for children and teens and help them socialize with others. As a middle school student who sees the negative impacts of excessive smartphone usage in school, I strongly disagree with these claims.

Parents must take the responsibility because they are the ones who choose to give their children smartphones. Some parents think that by setting time limits and parental controls they can control their child(ren)’s phone use. I think this just makes things worse. Students in my school use all the time they have on their smartphones until their time limit goes off. They seem to be waiting for that time in the day when they can use their smartphones; they are the first thing they reach for at lunchtime. This machine seems to immerse them. Sometimes I imagine them turning into machines.

Why do parents give their children smartphones? This question has been haunting me, and I think I finally know the answer now. Parents want to have a good relationship with their children, so they give them everything they want to make them happy. Parents may also think that their child is growing up and they deserve to have a smartphone. It is possible that their child is nagging them to have a smartphone because their friends have one. Some parents want their children to be able to communicate with them or contact them. Some others may think that there are many advantages to using smartphones, including playing games, socializing, having fun, and learning. Yet others may think their children are not susceptible to these kinds of behaviors. Others might think the disadvantages are minor. I do not think any of these are good enough reasons to give your child a smartphone because of all the severely negative impacts it can have on a child.

It breaks my heart to see children not being children, and students not being students. Children are missing social and academic experiences in school. They are getting into patterns of behavior that are hurting them now and will hurt them in the future. I urge parents not to give their children smartphones at such a young age. Give children their childhood back.

This is an abridged version of the original article. To read the full piece, go to Stonesoup.com/young-bloggers/.

About the Stone Soup Blog

We publish original work—writing, art, book reviews, multimedia projects, and more—by young people on the Stone Soup Blog. You can read more posts by young bloggers, and find out more about submitting a blog post, here: https://stonesoup.com/stone-soup-blog/.