The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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Schemes of the screens

Constant phone usage has a detrimental effect on mental health and productivity
Cece Benz
Juniors Grace Sharma and Hannah Liu along with senior Laura Zhang mindlessly scroll on their phones in Turing Commons instead of being present in the moment.

It is a Sunday night. Yet you sit at a desk, phone in hand, surrounded by incomplete worksheets. They don’t seem quite as important once your brain eases into the steady play of infatuating one-minute videos. 

“Just one more video,” you tell yourself. 

With just a push of a button, anyone can access limitless information through the internet and chat with friends miles away. 

What’s not to love? 

The average person will spend nine years on their phone. That’s over 3000 days spent staring at a screen the size of a hand. Mobile phones have become increasingly integrated with everyday life in the past decade. 

From the minute we wake up, we reach for our phone. It’s our alarm, our communication, our entertainment. Our lifeline. 

If we treated anything else harmful the way we treat our phones, it would be overwhelming and consume our lives. Imagine reaching for a book instead of a phone or spending time with family every moment normally used to browse social media. Living purely on a phone is an unhealthy habit that drains much more time than most people realize. Try spending that time on something you love or being around others. 

I recently watched a clip of Jefferson students attending a school spirit event many years ago. One of the most notable aspects of the video was how happy and present all the students were. Comparing the older students’ joy with today’s subdued school spirit reveals dramatic contrasts. We have less participation in school events, less enthusiasm and simply less joy. Instead, we pour our mindless attention towards tiny hand-held images. As Em Beihold sings in her pop hit “Numb,” “your body’s in the room but you’re not really there.” 

Many of us have put our phones in a drawer or different room while trying to finish our work, highlighting the distractions phones create. An inanimate object consumes more of our focus than top priorities and even important goals. The eye-catching content on phones is addicting and provides constant, personally curated entertainment. Not only are phones concerningly enticing, but they hold content that can harm self-image and overall mental health. It is easy yet detrimental to compare ourselves to people online. Forcing yourself to set the phone down or even talk to friends and family can help ease the temptations. 

Right before sleeping, it’s almost a natural reflex for someone to slump into their bed and scroll on their phone, letting their mind wander from the stress of the day. Hours can disappear in what seems like an instant. The guilt can make people feel sick, further coaxing people to turn to their phones for a welcome distraction. 

The endless scrolling only makes habits worse. The feeling of urgency when having the phone around diminishes your mental health and causes stress and anxiety. Excessive phone usage is an endless cycle leading to never-ending anxiety and procrastination, until you find a way to control the temptations of the phone. There needs to be a healthy work-life balance. Giving yourself breaks and time off will relax your mind, and putting the phone away is the key to being present in the moment. 

The most important parts of our life are in the present. When we grow old, we want to look back and remember our childhood, teenage years, school memories and all the life experiences we had. No matter where you are or what the situation is, put your phone down and embrace the moment. 

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