Here is an interesting study about college students and the effects of too much cell phone use. The short story; lower GPA's and anxiety. This makes so much sense to me, distraction and obsession, put those two things together and you have a recipe for the college experience to be a disaster. I never really thought about cell phone use as an obsessive compulsive behavior, but truly it is. Think about it, people who have OCD have a ritualized behavior that is a coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety. There is nothing more ritualized as the repeated hand twist checking for texts, over and over and over again, with barely a moment of rest, coping with the constant worry of missing something. If you are consumed with the worry that you might be missing something, than you never really experience the present. In college that means that sitting in class worrying more about the next text rather than the next quiz, or trying to study with one hand and one eye on the phone waiting for the next big news rather than both eyes focused on the "real text." There is still only one way to be successful in school, and that is the old fashion way, by being "present" during classtime and studying without distraction.
The anxiety issue to me is equally worrisome. The constant need to be checking in and connecting is an avoidance behavior for being alone with your own thoughts. The way to work through issues is to think about them. But if you keep yourself distracted from thinking and feeling, that there is no thinking through. The number of college students who self report being on medication for anxiety is astounding to me. This is not a good prognosis for coping with the increasing stress and responsibility for being an adult.
What can you do now to prepare your high school student for the college experience, get them into cellphone rehab now! Enforce a two hour no cellphone use a day, and no cellphones to bed. And model model model. Get off your phone!
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