Media Mania: I can’t get away from my phone!


Sara Green '23

Siena Urquiza ’23 struggles to decide whether she should scroll on TikTok or continue reading her book.

As embarrassing and cliche as it sounds, I am a screen-ager. I mostly mean this in a post-ironic manner but the harsh reality of phone addiction is an issue in the lives of all teenagers. Even as I’m writing this, I have my phone right next to me just waiting for me to pick it up.

I got my first phone when I was in fifth grade. I shared an iPhone five with my sister and mostly had it for communication with my family. I never had to resist scrolling on my phone because I only had text messages and some fun games available to me. In seventh grade, I saved up money from birthdays, babysitting and tutoring to purchase my very own iPhone seven plus. Again, this phone was used for practical reasons until my mom let me download Instagram at the end of eighth grade. Yes, the embarrassingly un-funny username @is.that.a_chicken still haunts me to this day, but that’s beside the point. I handled social media very well until the fateful day in 9th grade I downloaded TikTok. Quarantine had just begun, and what better did I have to do than watch people dance to  “Renegade”, make whipped coffee and occasionally stumble on a ‘DeepTok’ video?

Last year, I often struggled with focusing on homework and deciding to take a quick break which often turned into me being on TikTok for an hour. What exactly makes TikTok more addictive? According to the BBC, it’s because scrolling through such a plethora of videos brings many emotions and triggers dopamine release in one’s brain.

So, I finally decided to take some action and I asked my mom to put a passcode protection screen time on Snapchat, Instagram and most importantly, TikTok. I was limited to an hour a day on all of these platforms combined. This measure had an immediate effect on the way I procrastinated – but in a positive way. I was playing crossword puzzles and reading the New York Times.

Just one week ago, I removed my screen time passcode. So far, I’ve managed to avoid slipping into my screen time habits of the past. Will this responsible, mature approach continue? Wish me luck!