FEATURE — February 7, 2021 at 8:13 pm

Social media degrades students’ ability to focus during online school

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Student scrolling through social media on their phone during online school. Photo by Nya Owusu-Afriyie

With school becoming virtual since March of 2020 in hopes of flattening the COVID-19 curve, many students have had difficulty paying attention in class and social media may be to blame. 

By spending time on their phones during their lessons, students risk not fully understanding the information being taught. Social media notifications from commonly used apps such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, tend to stray students away from their work.

“During classes, my cell phone tends to be on my desk or on my bed, depending where I’m doing school,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior Isabella Cristancho said. “It’s always tempting to go on it every time I hear a notification ring while I’m in class.”

With notifications alerting students, there has been certain activity on their applications that deflects their attention from class.

“Once I log onto social media, it’s difficult to get off,” junior Hannah Leon said. “It’s addictive wanting to see what’s happening and keeping up with peoples’ posts, seeing the new trends or videos sent to me from others.”

Mya Ryan, a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, spends at least thirty minutes to an hour looking at social media, causing the minutes to go by quickly during class.

“I sometimes spend up to thirty minutes to an hour just scrolling on my social media applications,” Ryan said. “I honestly lose track of time when I start going on social media, especially TikTok and Instagram. By the time I log off, class is almost over and I have no recollection of what happened.”

With the lack of attention towards class caused by social media, there are consequences that come with this. These include students forgetting about assignments that are due and not performing well in class.

“My grades have been slipping due to going on my phone while in class,” junior Marlo Perkins said. “I sometimes forget about assignments that are due which causes a drastic change in my grades, I also don’t perform as well as I did while I was actually in school before the pandemic happened.”

Noticing these consequences, some students have been limiting their time usage on their cell phones.

“My parents and I started using screen time on my phone, making me not able to go on my social media apps and answer calls,” Cristancho said. “It has actually helped a lot for me to pay attention in class and avoid looking at my phone altogether.”

With the help of screen time, students are able to stay off their phones while class is in session. Also giving away any other technology that is not used for schooling has helped students as well.

“I put away my devices in my parents’ office so I don’t check as often as I did before,” Ryan said. “I’m performing much better than I did before in my classes and I only try to go on my devices during my lunch time or after school.” 

Distractions from different social media applications have caused students to get distracted and to perform poorly in their classes, making it hard to excel during online school. However, having the discipline to put devices away or be able to use screen time as a way to avoid being on social media during school has helped students pay attention and perform well in classes. 

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Erika Ryan is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She enjoys drawing, painting and reading.

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