Too Much Tech for Teens


Kaitlyn Hendrickson

2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, and that was only amplified by Covid-19. Covid made things way harder than they already were and ruined most people’s year. One aspect covid really ruined was school. Friday, March 13th was the last real day of school for most kids across the US. In the beginning, most students were just happy to have an extended spring break, and now look where we are. School is all online and the only fun we can have with our friends safely is online too. Before Covid, adults used to yell at the youth to get off their phones and get outside but now, they want us all to stay inside for their safety. Our technology use has been through the roof.

Before Covid, most students averaged 3-4 hours of technology use just for school purposes and another 5-6 hours for personal use. During the thick of Covid students say they averaged around 6 more hours of use a day. At the top of the pre-Covid tech use, plus the new Covid use, students are using technology for 14-16 hours a day give or take a few hours. This is far more than necessary or healthy. Many healthcare professionals state that for every hour of screen usage teens need 15 minutes of physical activity.

 A large contributor to this technology use is constant school video calls. These calls can last anywhere from 30 mins to an hour and a half and there are at minimum 3 of these calls a day (MWHS). Sitting in front of a computer for that long uninterrupted is both incredibly taxing, but also boring. Bringing back both the time and frequency of these calls could dramatically decrease the time our students spend behind a screen. The best way to do that would be a maximum of an hour and a half on call and the rest of the day being asynchronous. This would dramatically improve student quality of life.

While being present in school is incredibly important, student welfare is more important. School has affected around 70% of our student’s mental health, and it hasn’t been positive. According to a small student survey of students at MWHS, multiple students have reported their anxiety levels have increased a considerable amount due to covid and many more have reported feeling depressed. Students are feeling unfulfilled and as if their time is no longer valuable because they have no variety in their life. 

Technology use in schools needs to decrease. There is no way this much use can have a positive effect on students. Schools need to put their students first.