Phones – a must?

Suzannah S (Year 9)

Edited by Peter Z (Year 12)  

In primary school, life on the bus was a rowdy affair. A bubble of conversation. Cries of irritation and snorts of laughter. The predictably cheerful atmosphere that met my ears every bus ride. 

Fast forward to the first week of high school and you can imagine my surprise when I stepped onto the bus to dead silence! You could hear a pin drop. It was unnerving. Rows and rows of detached teenagers with their eyes glued to their screens, each in their own little world, completely oblivious to the world around them. 

I didn’t have a phone back then in Year 7, and still don’t own one now in Year 9. Is this weird? Yes (editor’s note: it shouldn’t be weird). Do I care? No… Ok, sometimes. Mainly when my friends threaten to buy me a Nokia and force me to take it. (You know who you are…)  

I know you’re all probably thinking I’m nuts and trust me – it wouldn’t be the first time but hear me out. In my PDHPE class we did a survey on screen time in the holidays, and would it come as a shock that the average screen time was 8-9 hours? And the highest was 11 hours? And did you know the average teenager checks their phone 150 times a day? (Not obsessive at all) 

So why would I not have a phone? What could POSSIBLY be bad enough to convince me not to own an extremely useful and clearly prized piece of metal and glass? 

Well, thanks for asking, I have done a bit of research… 


Points Against Phones: 

Cyberbullying: Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard all the seminars and read the facts, but bullying hurts, and it’s a whole lot easier to do it anonymously online. I know people that have been texted threats and horrible messages. It is real. And it’s really worrying. Contrary to popular belief that a certain renowned Creator named Tyler might have propagated via a viral tweet, solving cyberbullying is often not as simple as “Walking Away From The Screen” and “Closing Your Eyes Haha” 

Addictive: What do TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and (for the older generation) Facebook have in common? Researchers at Case Western University found that high school students who spend too much time on social network sites are at higher risk for other issues including smoking, depression, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse. While I’m not saying that social media sites are inherently bad to use, there surely must be some weight to the evident correlation between high social media use and these other common issues.  

Moreover, there has to be some significance to the fact that leading technological and social media executives do not allow their children to use social media sites. They’re the ones who meticulously designed and perfected the algorithms intended to keep users on these sites for as long as possible. They know the impact of frequent social media use on the human brain, particularly on the young, underdeveloped brains of children and teenagers. Remember that these rich social media creators don’t care about your time management or mental health. They simply want to capitalise on your time and so they design these apps specifically to hook you and keep you scrolling for hours; a trap that is sometimes seemingly unavoidable. 

Creepy requests and pictures: I hate this one, but as a girl – I have become aware that a couple of my friends have been asked for disgusting pictures of themselves from either strangers, or someone random who they know. It really scares me because I know how much these can damage them, and their friendships, relationships and family life. Please tell a responsible adult you trust if you ever receive a text like this.  

Mental illness: Research shows that problematic phone use can often co-occur with various mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and stress. This is quite ironic, because how many of us go on our phones to relax and relieve stress? 

Now, these are just a few reason that I don’t want a phone, but I also know phones are great too, it’s not all negative and I think it’s fair that I share some positive reasons too: 


Points in support of phone use: 

Lifesaving: Smart phones offer great help to deal with emergency situations, it enables a person to call for help when in trouble, and it can be used to trace a person that’s lost or that’s a criminal.  

Communication: You don’t have to send a letter to someone who lives on the other side of the world and wait 3 weeks for it to get there! You can buzz them a text or facetime! I think lockdown was the time we all really started appreciating this benefit of our devices.  

Immediate internet access: We can research any question or query in under 30 seconds (or less if you’re a quick typer) Only yesterday my father used his phone to look up gifs off a monkey typing on a computer to imitate me. (It’s not me, it’s him) 

Camera: Lots of us hate to admit it, but how many times do you take a photo of yourself daily? I’ll admit that I steal my friends’ phones and take sneaky selfies of myself (never ask to see their camera roll). But how convenient is this? Instead of whipping out a clunky old grandpa camera, you can causally, with a swipe of your phone, take a photo easily.  


So, there are my Pros and Cons, but that’s just my opinion, I am woefully undereducated when it comes to phones (or so I’m told) but what do you think? Am I stupid to not own a phone or am I incredibly intelligent?