Smartphones: essential part of everyday life

Molina Soun, Staff Writer

Today’s youth can do almost anything on a smartphone, from surfing the Internet to downloading the latest apps. For some students, cell phones have become a source of self-esteem.

About 78 percent of teens in the U.S. own a cell phone, and 37 percent own a smartphone, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

Each year, the number of teens owning cell phones increase.  Texting has become a more comfortable and preferred communication between today’s youth, allowing teens the ability to control what they write before sending it.  Accessing the Internet has also become popular on smartphones.

According to “The Guardian,” “more than 80% of phone-owning teens… use them to take pictures … 60% listen to music on them, 46% play games, 32% swap videos and 23% access social networking sites.”

Cell phones have become the most popular form of communication among teens, linking teens to each other throughout the day.

“I just like the fact I can stay connected to my friends,” freshman Rachel Dinh-Lopez said.  “They play a big role in my life.”

Forty-seven percent of teens say they would feel their lives would be worse if they did not have their cell phones, according to Pew Research Center.  Cell phones boost confidence for today’s teens and make them feel more self-assured.

Sophomore Lorenna Chavarria says she needs to use her cell phone to avoid uncomfortable and awkward situations.  Other students agree that their phone plays a psychological role in their lives.

“[A phone] is like a safety blanket, something to hold onto,” sophomore Stephanie Peres said.  “It keeps [people] calm.”

The use of smartphones at all hours throughout the day may cause some students to neglect socializing with their friends and family in person.  Students can become so intensely focused on their phones that they don’t notice their surroundings; even more troubling, the excessive use of phones can lead to teens having less eye contact and face-to-face interactions with others.

“You don’t spend a lot of time with friends and family,” Chavarria said.  “You’re depending on your phone for everything you do.”

“You can’t go anywhere without a phone,” Peres said.  “You can’t do anything without it.”

Cell phone dependency can become dangerous to students who become addicted to their phones. Teens feel panicked and desperate if they lose sight of their cell phones, feeling that they can’t live without their phones.

“You can depend on your phone to an extent,” Dinh-Lopez said.  “Your phone can control you, but you have to control your phone.”

Smartphones have become a part of daily life and for some it’s difficult to go a day without it.

“Your phone is like a person, but in plastic,” Dinh-Lopez said.