Post pandemic, students struggle with cell phone addiction

Returning from winter break, the Curtis community is through the first semester of the 2022-2023 year.  Even though we were able to overcome the germy grasp of Covid-19, there appears to be another pandemic sweeping the halls. 

Over the past couple of months, teachers have been complaining about students’ phones and how their addiction to them affects their learning. When students have their phones near them, and not in their bags teachers have noticed they are having a harder time paying attention in class. Not only have students’ attention spans taken a hit, but also their grades and ability to socialize in general. 

Phones have always been a distraction, but the problem seems to have been amplified since the pandemic.

“We relied on devices during the pandemic, but now that we don’t need them in the same way, it seems many students just can’t put them away for very long,” said Ms. Pizzano an English teacher.

“Since COVID and the restrictions put on people to stay home, many people relied on their phones to see what was going on in the world, their community, and most importantly, with their family/friends. They were on the phone, so they didn’t have to interact with anyone, just living in their own bubble,” said Ms. Boylan another English Teacher

“They’re distracted from learning and deem whatever is on their phone more important than what they’re learning in the classroom. The pandemic has obviously made that worse,” said Ms. McConville.

While many teachers agree that phones have become a bigger problem than ever before, what they cannot decide on is how to handle the issue since technology is such an integral part of every students’ education. If phones are the problem, should teachers be able to confiscate them until the end of class? Or should they impose a consequence, such as a deduction of points in participation? If it’s technology, should the students’ other devices such as laptops and tablets be treated the same way as phones? 

While some teachers have said that all devices should be treated the same way, since they’re all distractions, others believe  they should be treated differently.For example students are not getting notifications for texts on their Chromebooks.

If these other devices were approached differently, would teachers see better results for their students? As Ms. Boylan suggested, “ Yes. They are tools and are a great way to do homework and research. However, I think taking notes by hand is a good way to connect with the material you are studying, and you can always organize your notes when you are rewriting them onto a computer later for study.” Regardless, many teachers have agreed that this problem is a school-wide issue, and therefore should be handled as a schoolwide policy, and nothing can be done unless everyone is on the same page.  

As Ms. Pizzano said, “ As a community, we can all reinforce the importance of “digital citizenship”.  Technology will only advance, but we can learn how to use our devices in an appropriate and ethical way.”