OUR VIEW: Screen time takes teens out of real world


artwork by Sydney Gonzales

 A group of students sits together and chitchats, all with cell phones in hand. One of the students dejectedly says “Aw man, I can’t believe we lost the canned food drive!” After a couple seconds delay, without shifting her gaze away from her phone, another student responds “…There was a canned food drive?” 

  Unfortunately, situations like these are becoming unusually common in high schools as an epidemic of apathy infects teenagers.

  We teenagers become more disconnected from the world as our connection to our electronics grows. We ignore important aspects of life such as world events and opportunities to help others due to our deepening addiction to technology, which is an upsetting omen for our generation’s future. This worrying problem is considered a “first-world” one, which means it’s most prevalent among teenagers who are financially well off and perhaps even spoiled. We are constantly provided with all sorts of gizmos to catch to keep our attention, such as phones and video game consoles. While these artificial environments are fun, it’s undeniable that forming too deep of a fixation this technology can lead to it becoming a priority over the real world. This can be seen in our high school, where teenagers tapping away on their phones collide in the hallways, and students play games on their laptops while teachers are lecturing. This doesn’t change at home where we prefer to go home, spending time on Netflix or Disney-plus instead of getting involved in charities, athletic teams or club competitions.

  This unsettling dependence on technology isn’t only affecting high school life, it’s also affecting our interactions with the world. It’s no surprise that social media usage is starting to dominate our lives. What most of us don’t know, however, is that the world of social media is a fabricated world that only displays the highlights of one’s life. Social media is twisting our world views, hurting our self esteem and creating shallow friendships. If we involve ourselves in the world of social media more than we do the real world, we’ll miss out on having meaningful friendships and our involvement in the real world will dwindle. The effects of social media taking over lives can already be seen–we care more about gossiping on Snapchat than national and world events that will affect the rest of our lives. 

  Some of us will claim that we’re not involved in real life because it’s too uninteresting or boring. However, whether it is getting involved in extracurricular activities or just taking time to eat lunch with friends, getting involved in real life will bring nothing but benefits to us. We can’t judge how interesting or entertaining something will be unless we try it. 

It’s important for us to balance our lives both on and off screens. Saying that social media is completely bad is a foolish claim, but too much of it will hurt our self-esteem and happiness. Not only that, but a reliance on technology will also bring us discomfort. 

  It is essential that we get involved in the real world and consider the overwhelming benefits that getting involved have to offer because if we miss out now, we will regret it. Our teen years don’t last forever, so we must make the most of them by taking our gaze off our screens every once and a while.