What are smartphones doing to us?

WARWICK. In a wide-ranging discussion, 11 Warwick Valley High School students examine the world they live in, thanks - and sometimes no thanks - to smartphones.

| 26 Aug 2019 | 12:52

During a field trip to Straus News, the parent company of The Warwick Advertiser, eleven Warwick Valley High School sophomores and juniors from Carrie-Lynn Taylor’s journalism class discussed the pros and cons of having a smartphone. They offered the perspective of students who have had phones since middle school.

Here's what they had to say:

Better trust between children and their parents.

Ability to communicate and make plans with friends and family.

Not allowing your child to have a phone can hold them back from adapting to what is new, to how the world is.

Entertainment, funny stuff: laughter is good therapy

Gives outcasts a place to fit in with others

Helpful resource for school (Google Classroom, Remind); information is readily available at all times.

Helps kids find their own interests/passions

Can be used to promote small businesses and bands like local band Otis

Helpful for finding jobs

Having a phone makes meeting up easier.

Having a phone combats boredom

“So much music I listen to and love I only know because of my phone,” said Matt Traverso, 17.

“If a kid has a style their parents don’t agree with, they can find a safe space online,” said Matt Traverso, 17.

“I challenge my parents.” said Ruby Glynn, 17.

“My least favorite thing is having nothing to do and being lonely," said Conor Borthwick, 16.

Unrealistic expectations of body image.

Lack of going outside and having traditional socialization:

Unrealistic expectations of life in general: celebrities and social media icons, your friends’ trip photos, can make you feel “my life is horrible.”

Peer pressure

Learning things you aren’t mature enough to deal with, like eating disorders or self-harm.

Lack of privacy. Parents can see exactly where you are at all times, who you’re with, even how fast you’re driving.

Speaking to strangers.


Anxiety caused by being left out/FOMO/too much knowledge of what others are doing.

Becoming lazy in school.

Restricts productivity in and out of school

Physical interaction becomes less valuable. At sleep overs now, instead of giggling and staying up all night, everyone gets on their phones and falls asleep.

There is often a misunderstanding of tone of texts ... was someone being passive aggressive?

Lack of mystery/the unknown.

“With Snapchat, you see everyone’s face every five seconds. Imagine just going home and just not talking to people and seeing them the next day? It’s so exciting,“ said Stephanie Gratzel.

“I just kind of wish I never got a phone ... like I had a life outside of social media,” said Michelle Graff, 15.

“I was so embarrassed until I had a phone,” said Chloe Cullen, 15.

“I don’t have a lot of freedom. My parents track me,” said Michelle Graff, 15.

“I used to read so much. I remember I would go to the library, read a book, and then an hour later I’d want to go back. Now it seems like I have other things to do—look at my phone,” said Chloe Cullen, 15.

“I shouldn’t have gotten my phone so young: 10 or 11. I wasn’t ready to see everything I saw,” said Mia Silvestri, 17.