Teen Addiction: Cellphones?

Valerie Mora, Editor-In-Chief

What is addiction in the first place? It comes in various different forms and doesn’t necessarily need to be associated with drugs. You can be addicted to anything, just the simple act of having anything in excess is harmful. In the AP Psychology classes at Downey High, students are given the challenge to either wrap their phone up and put it in their backpacks or leave it in the classroom for the entire school day. This activity was given during the altered states unit to teach students about withdrawal and make them realize how addicted they are to their phones. Sometimes a person doesn’t know we are addicted to something unless it’s taken away from us. 


Addiction is a biopsychosocial (socially and biologically influenced) condition that is characterized by compulsive uses of rewarding stimuli despite the consequences. In simple terms, addiction is when you need a substance in order to live despite it hurting you physically and mentally. 


Nowadays we are surrounded by technology, and it is almost impossible to live without it in this day and age. It’s easy to scroll mindlessly through social media, play games, and text friends. It’s a dopamine hit to use our phones, which is why certain people get addicted to it. Psychology student Haajara Hossian, 11  explains why she thinks she is addicted to her phone and how the activity shows her that. 


“I think I am unfortunately addicted to my phone. I know this because there are times that I wake up in the morning and can’t feel my phone and my heart will literally start racing and my palms will actually get clammy. I’m too dependent on it — I think I can go without my phone but I get anxious when I don’t know where it is,” stated Hossian.  “I think that experiment was really great. I personally participated in it and it actually did a great job of demonstrating the effects of withdrawal.”


Another student, Yamarys Pantoja, also explains her experience being addicted to her phone and why now in this technology reliant word she can’t live without it.


“I think I am addicted to my phone because social media keeps me in contact with others and it’s very useful for communication! Also I have games,” Pantoja stated. “ I can’t live without my phone. School nowadays requires me to use technology so I think I wouldn’t be able to. Plus I have games.”


Psychology student, Alexy Gonzalez, who also participated in the challenge of not being able to use your phone for an entire day, describes how it gave her an insight to how addicted and dependent we are to our phones in daily life. 


“Although I hate to admit it, I think I’m addicted to my phone! My phone keeps me entertained and distracts me from what’s going on around me. It also acts as a security blanket in many situations,” Gonzalez stated. “I feel as if the challenge allowed us to realize how badly we depend and gravitate towards our phones daily.”


In summary we live in a technology based society that has made yet a new addiction, cellphones. They are there when we need a dopamine hit and distraction from an overwhelming world, how could it not be easy to be addicted?