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Smartphones or Dumbphones?

Distracted students need to step away from their phones

by Published: Sep 25, 2013

As I entered the library last Monday, I couldn’t help but realize something that still leaves me troubled; the library is no longer for studying.

I walked from the front desk to my study room at around 7 p.m., looking around from table to table. It seemed everyone had their books open and notes out, but nobody was really studying.

Despite the high stakes and inevitable stress with the first round of exams fast-approaching, people cannot seem to escape the overwhelming drive to put down their books and pick up their phones. While studying, some of us text constantly, while others addictively play games like Candy Crush Saga or Temple Run. Even more of us give way to an incessant and powerful compulsion to check our news feeds as if we expect the past 30 seconds to hold some miraculous insight that cannot be allowed to escape our immediate discovery.

Fantasy Football has now begun, as well, and many of us “need” to know how our teams are doing at all hours of the day. If we miss a key player’s injury and fail to adjust accordingly, the consequences could be dire.

Alas, we arrive at the problem that troubles me the most: are smartphones making us a less productive generation? At first, the question seems ridiculous. How could a device that instantly brings e-mail, class notes, social media, schedules and so much more to the tips of our fingers, not make us more productive? The sad truth many of us either fail to see or subconsciously try to avoid, however, is that smartphones can be a dangerous distraction from the potential productivity we would otherwise possess.

The goals we set for ourselves have not really changed from the generations before us. Most of us go to FLITE with every intention of checking off each item on our lengthy and daunting academic to-do lists. However, the reality of losing much of that time to the aforementioned smartphone shenanigans is all too grave. I would go as far as to say that many of us reward ourselves with a 10 minute Facebook break for every five minutes of productivity. Now, there’s nothing wrong with breaking up our time and taking a mental breather every once in a while, but when our smartphone time outweighs our precious study time, we may need to reevaluate our actions.

For those of you who can keep your phones away and truly get down to business while studying, bravo, you have the right idea. For the rest of us– the majority of us– let’s take the time to objectively examine our study habits to see if a simple reduction of the time we spend

Maybe you haven’t even given it much thought. Maybe your Facebook and Fantasy Football breaks are so deeply programmed in your daily routines that it seems like no big deal. I challenge you, however, to leave your phone in your pocket the next time you have the urge to take it out. You just may be surprised at how much more productive you can be.