Senior Nick DellaCroce is so lost without his cell phone that when it broke, he brought his iPad to school so that he wouldn’t be cut off from his virtual world.
“My baby was in the hospital,” DellaCroce said. Fifty percent of teenagers feel that they are addicted to their cell phones, according to a poll conducted by Common Sense Media, which also reported that “the ability to be constantly connected can affect schoolwork, relationships, and concentration.” “I am definitely addicted to my phone,” DellaCroce
said. “Whenever I get a text or Snapchat in class, I want to pull out my phone to see who texted me and sneak it.”
Even though DellaCroce’s parents enforce strict rules regarding cell phone use during dinner, DellaCroce manages to slip it past them.
“To get around that rule, I will sometimes go to the bathroom and respond to Snapchats or text messages so I can have that feeling of pleasure,” DellaCroce said.
DellaCroce is also quite creative in school. He has several tricks up his sleeve in attempt to hide his phone away from teachers inside the classroom.
“I’ve put my phone in my calculator cover,” DellaCroce said. “Sometimes, when I’m reading a book, I’ll hold up the book and put the phone in my other hand.” Cell phone policy at St. Martin’s Episcopal School is more lenient than most. Upper School English Teacher and Quiz Bowl Coach Lee Klebba agrees that students are addicted to their cell phones. She does not understand this addiction and would like to see improvement in cell phone-related behavior within the community.
“I think it encourages anti-socialbehavior, particularly with my advisory in the mornings,” Klebba said.
Klebba’s classroom is affected by frequent cell phone use. Students receiving phone calls and text messages during class time has become a distraction for the learning environment.
“I am appalled when I hear students say, ‘Oh, Ms. Klebba, it’s my mother,’” Klebba said. “I’ll say, ‘This is a classroom. Your mother shouldn’t be calling.’”
The Common Sense Media poll supports Klebba’s assertion, revealing that 28 percent of parents are addicted to their cell phone devices as well.
“It keeps me in contact with and connected to my daughter at all times,” said Sophomore Gabby Killett's mother, Terri-Lynn Causey. “Even when I am not with her, I can see what she’s doing on social media. It keeps me in my comfort zone.”
Many students feel the urge to be in physical contact with their cell phone constantly so they can feel more relaxed in social situations.
“Even if I am listening and engaging in a conversation, I want something in my hand so I am not fidgeting,” said Senior Jaulet Ebrahimpour.
Students like Ebrahimpour and DellaCroce are obsessed with their cell phones.
“If I don’t have my cell phone on me, I feel like I am missing a part of myself,” DellaCroce said.
Social media addiction is a public health threat in various countries around the world, but it is not identified as a disorder in the United States, according to Common Sense Media. Klebba hopes that this addiction will eventually end at St. Martin’s. She suggests a stricter cell phone policy, one that makes sure students keep their phones away from the classroom and in their lockers.
“Everybody is looking at their phones and not communicating,” Klebba said.
"We survived without cell phones," said Upper School Math Teacher Dr. Julie Laskay. "I turned out just fine. Look at me."