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Life's Distractions Elliot Lee and Jenna Stellmack

"I would say that 99% of students in my school have a smartphone."

It’s almost impossible to find a public place where nobody is on their phone. At Mounds View, students seem to be using their phones constantly, even during class. Multiple studies have shown that unstructured use of smartphones has negative effects on students’ school performance.

According to a study by the London School of Economics, having a phone in school can cause a drop of up to six percent on test scores. Most students, however, rely on their phones for information, entertainment, and communication.

“I use technology all the time for classwork,” said Sarah Corcoran, 10. “It really helps me during and after class. I can get a deeper understanding.”

Although many students oppose the idea, at least one school in the Mounds View district is putting a phone ban into effect: Chippewa Middle School. On April 30, phones will be banned in all classes at Chippewa. If a teacher catches a student using their phone in class, it will be taken away.

“I feel really happy. Hopefully the WiFi will go faster,” said Claire Stellmack, an eighth grader at Chippewa.

Other students, however, aren’t as excited. “Most people in my school are not happy, because that means they can’t use their phones in class,” Stellmack said.

“I don’t think they should be banned. It really affects students in a negative way. I know I use my phone for notes and for emergencies,” said Corcoran.

"Oftentimes I find that when we teach children not to do something, when they become adults, they have a harder time actually using it in a responsible way," said Jose Luis Vilson in an interview for WBUR radio.

Phones are a widespread source of information and distractions. Even at the elementary level, phones are becoming more and more common. “They don’t use them in class, but I have caught my friend using her phone outside of class,” said Nicole Kurdyumov, 5. “They don’t play games, but one time someone decided to go on Snapchat.”

Victoria Kurdyumov, a freshman at Centennial High School, says that the situation is similar there. “[They use phones for] texting, SnapChat, YouTube playlists. Never for school, though.”

"I would say that 99% of students in my school have a smartphone," said Stellmack. Phones at school have become a way of life, but it's up to the student to decide how they're used.

-Jenna Stellmack

"bully: use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants."

Bullying is a huge problem in the world, socially and mentally. What often isn’t discussed, however, is the effect of bullying on grades.

Cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying are issues that can damage self-esteem, mental health, and social welfare. However, according to a study by UCLA, bullying was correlated with a 1.5-point drop in GPA.

To “bully” is defined as “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants” by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

This kind of social stress can put extra pressure on a student, lowering grades and success in school, according to Reuters (reuters.com).

"Students who are repeatedly bullied receive poorer grades and participate less in class discussions. Some students may get mislabeled as low achievers because they do not want to speak up in class for fear of getting bullied,” said Jaana Juvonen, a UCLA professor quoted in a study by UCLA. “Instruction cannot be effective unless the students are ready to learn, and that includes not being fearful of raising your hand in class and speaking up."

-Jenna Stellmack

"There needs to be a balance between sleep and homework."

For teens to function as their best they need eight to ten hours of sleep each night reported a study from the National Sleep Foundation but they also found that 85 percent of teens do not reach eight hours. Many students report only getting five to seven hours of sleep every night, a minority reported regularly get four.

During adolescence the body goes through shift in sleeping cycles causing a release of melatonin in the body later and a reduction also later in the morning. But the amount of sleep a students gets is not the whole story many other factors such as the amount of sustained Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep one achieves can affect their body as well. “It's hard for me to fall asleep before 11 pm and sometimes when I stay up later I feel more awake during the day then if I were to go to bed early,” said Jed Liang 9. When the body does not achieve the amount of sleep it needs people can expect to feel drowsy and like they have a lack of energy but when sleep deprivation becomes severe the brain will start to shut down non-vital parts of the brain like speech, memory and motor and spatial skills.

The amount of sleep each student needs various dramatically between students but what is a common issue is the amount of sleep to the amount of homework, “There needs to be a balance between sleep and homework I would love to finish all my homework but I have to sleep and if I don't it’s a slippery slope that carries onto the next day.”said Liang. The stress of societal expectations to finish their homework and get perfect grades combined with biology can cause drastic changes in teens sleep cycles. “Most of time I get around six hours of sleep but sometimes I only get four and I feel the same throughout the school day. What can be hard is when I get home, I crash and it’s difficult to do my homework,” said Lucas Sopcinski 9.

Another study done by the child mind institute states the reason for the teenage angst that many adults feel like the inability to self regulate and moody behavior comes from the lack of sleep many teenagers get. “Sometimes I get really moody when I don’t get enough sleep and it affects my relationships with my friends and family.’ said Sydney Pham 10. Sleep deprivation doesn't just affect the person who is lacking sleep but also everyone who is connected to them by their actions.

Overall the average high school student needs eight to ten hours of sleep every night but the with the modern landscape that the today's teens face makes that almost impossible.

-Elliot Lee

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