Holy Apostles College & Seminary Negative Effects of Excessive Smartphone Use on Students



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Holy Apostles College & Seminary

Negative Effects of Excessive Smartphone Use on Students

by

Joseph Huan Ngoc Tran



Prof. Scot Andersen

ESL 026: Academic Skills



08 December 2021

We live in the digital age of technology, in which most people are closely related to smartphone devices and their features.1 There is no denying that the explosion of smartphone devices has allowed users, especially students, to access the internet anywhere and anytime.2 According to the Center’s Survey of Teens and Technology Use, “smartphone ownership has become a nearly ubiquitous element of teen life: 95% of teens now report they have a smartphone or access to one.”3 Reality shows that when too focused on cell phone use, students will give a lower priority to their studies or job, as well as entertainment activities, and ignore their classmates, family members.4 Therefore, this paper will demonstrate that excessive use of smartphones will cause many negative effects on students because they do not have enough time for studying, the phones negatively affect their healthy psychological development, as well as cause a lack of fundamental social communication and behavioral skills.

When it comes to the negative effects of excessive smartphone use on students, first and foremost, reality shows that if students spend too much time using smartphones, they will not have enough time to study. According to a study reported in The New York Times, some students spend more than eight hours a day online using their smartphones, while the majority spend two to four hours a day online.5 Several recent studies have also shown that there is a strong link between the excessive use of smartphones by students and their academic performance. Spending too much time focusing on digital devices distracts students from their studies, and as a result, research has shown that digital distractions cause poorer academic performance for students.6 For example, many students use their phones to play online games and are immersed in them. In fact, “when not gaming, they usually fantasize about gaming, and experience withdrawal-like symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, frustration, annoyance and/or sadness.”7 This will make it impossible for them to concentrate on their studies at school as well as at home; therefore, inevitably, their academic achievements will be affected.

The second negative impact that must be mentioned is that on smartphones connected to the internet, there is a lot of bad information, games, and movies, which affect the psychological development of students. A recent survey shows that “Roughly six-in-ten parents say they worry at least somewhat about their teen being harassed or bullied online (59%) or sending or receiving explicit images (57%).”8 At the same time, about 25% of those parents expressed great concern when these things happened to their children.9 Studies from 2008 to 2013 by many psychologists have demonstrated that playing violent video games and movies on smartphones significantly increases aggression in adolescents.10 There are more and more violent video games on smartphones, and this will directly affect the psychology and behavior of students. A study by psychologist Craig A. Anderson et al in 2010 showed that “the evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.”11 Additionally, some studies have also shown that depression and anxiety in students are related to their excessive playing of violent games and exposure to bad information from the internet while using smartphones.12

Last but not least, when focusing on the virtual world of smartphones, students lack direct interaction with people, leading to a lack of fundamental social communication and behavioral skills. It is entirely possible for young people today to stay at home and completely eschew in-person social interaction with others. Indeed, smartphones have dramatically changed the way people communicate and exchange information.13 Nowadays, many students use their smartphones to communicate with people by texting or interacting through brief comments, generic symbols instead of expressing their feelings personally. Students’ normal relationships with people in everyday life can be neglected in favor of phones because they are too focused on using mobile phones to access social networks and the internet,14 and this leads to a meaningful reduction in their direct interactions with people,15 as well as disrupting normal social interactions.16 Through using smartphones every time and everywhere, students are often immersed in the virtual world of the internet and social networks.17 Many students enjoy establishing relationships on social networks, to the point that many of them believe that the number of likes and followers on social networks equals success,18 and this leads to their inability to return to their normal life relationships in real life. They “may further experience significant distress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression, which again may negatively influence relationships at home (family conflicts), at work/school (impaired concentration and collaboration), and socially (loss of friends).”19

In conclusion, excessive use of smartphones will cause many negative effects on students. When spending too much time focusing on the phone, they will not focus on their studies and as a result, academic achievement will decrease. Besides, there is a lot of bad information, violent movies, affecting the fundamental psychological development of students. Finally, when focusing on the virtual world and lacking direct interaction with people, students lack social communication and behavioral skills. Therefore, it is important to identify and understand the negative effects of student addiction to smartphones and the internet,20 thereby helping students have a sense of discipline and self-control when using mobile devices in their daily lives, and at the same time giving them a balanced, active and positive lifestyle.




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