Phones may alter students’ minds, here’s why


These two students are headed to their class. They are not focused on what is in front of them but what is on their phone which can be dangerous as they can bump into another student.

Allan Garcia, freelance reporter

Students at Morton East High School are constantly on their phones all the time without knowing what phones are doing to their brains.

Whenever you are walking to class you are likely to see a crowd of students looking at their phones, but phones may affect a student’s mind more than you think if they cannot let the device go.

In a 2018 Pew Research Center poll, 95 percent of teens reported having access to a smart phone and around 45 percent of teens reported using the internet “almost constantly” (a number that has doubled compared to the 2014-2015 survey).

Senior Arod Rodriguez commented, “I’m usually distracted on my phone because I’m bored in class.”

While students are on their phones, most of the time they are on social media either texting or catching up on their friend’s or idols’ lives. In the Pew Research Center poll, one in four teens thought social media has been mostly negative, with about half thinking the effects have been mixed. With social media, anything can be faked and sent anonymously.

Rodriquez expressed, “I think social media affects me negatively because it makes me compare my life to other people on the media and it’s just mentally draining and sometimes I wanna delete it.”

With the internet, a lot of information can be spread quickly. It is no surprise that the usage of phones has increased in the past years, but does it affect your sleeping pattern? In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a dozen adult participants were asked to either read on an iPad for four hours each night before bed or read printed books in dim lighting. After five consecutive nights, the two groups switched. What the researchers discovered was that those who had read on an iPad before bedtime displayed a reduction in levels of melatonin, a hormone that increases throughout the evening and induces sleepiness. It also took these participants more time to fall asleep, and they experienced less REM sleep throughout the night.

Mr. Beisman, a TSI teacher had this to say, “I have two children and my daughter when she uses her phone too much it totally impacts her sleep… you can see that she doesn’t want to go to sleep.”

While it may be the norm to be on your phone all day, the brain can in fact be influenced by the changes in what the phone might do to you. Recent research suggests that smartphone usage does indeed influence the brain, in one study presented to the Radiological Society of North America, researchers found that young people with internet and smartphone addiction had proven imbalances in brain chemistry compared to a control group.

Beisman believes that phones and grades do correlate with each other in a beneficial way, his said, “My students use it as a tool, just like they would use a screwdriver or pilers… but my class is different than other classes.”