Opinion: Cell phones – Distraction or Tool?


ARC student Jack Simmons using his smartphone next to the Liberal Arts breezeway, October 13, 2016.

Jared Smith

Smart phones are easily one of this generation’s greatest new technologies. They allow us to have instant access to the world around us, start controversy in just a few words stamped out with our fingers, find out the results of a football game seconds after it ends, and  talk to all of our friends without even speaking.

In a society that never slows down, smartphones have become an essential tool that has made our lives so much easier. What most don’t realize is that they are also making our lives harder.

Their very convenience is why smartphones are becoming such an issue. They are moving past their benefit and becoming distractions that we can’t live without.

This problem can be found everywhere. We drive while looking down, we text while talking to others, we just stare at our phone way too much. You can’t have a conversation with most people today without someone staring at their phone at some point.

This is making it so hard for students today to focus during class. There is nothing more distracting than a phone going off in class to the tune of a nuclear alarm.

If students were to just put their phones down more often, or turn their phone off during class, they could be more successful in their college career.

According to the Boston Globe, there was a study done by Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, which looked at 91 schools where 90 percent of the teenagers that attended had cellphones. The study showed that test scores were 6.41 percent higher at schools where cellphone use was not allowed.

We seem to think that we can use our phone while studying or during lectures because we are good multitaskers, but this is false. Multitasking is a myth that just takes more time from us.

“Our brains on multitasking aren’t nearly as good as we think they are,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN. Gupta notes that only about 2 percent of the population are actually good at multitasking.

Furthermore, according to the APA, the American Psychological Association, multitasking can cost up to 40 percent more of a person’s time who is multitasking.

The easiest thing to do is to put your phone away when you walk into class, get in your car, or want to really get something done. People lived for hundreds of years without them,  we can live a few hours.