Survey Reveals Distractive Power of Tech

Arjun Chhabra, Staff Writer

Sophomores in Human and Social Development (HSD) class have been tracking the amount of time they spend on their devices and the amount of sleep they have been allowing for themselves since October 17. The aim of the project is to educate students about how time spent on devices can impact sleep patterns.

The HSD students reported spending 1-2 hours on devices for personal use like social media.  This is in addition to time they spent on devices for school work.

Some students reported spending up to 9 hours a day on their devices, exceeding the “safer” 2 hours the University of Michigan’s ongoing youth survey “Monitoring the Future” recommends. Though, according to the study, even 2 hours can lead to anxiety and depression.

Meanwhile, the average amount of daily sleep reported by HSD students fell between 7-8 hours. The recommended amount is 8-10 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit organization that promotes public understanding of sleep and sleep disorders.

The project was eye-opening for some in the HSD course. Walker Rhodes, a sophomore, said that the survey results helped him realize that students “need to sleep more.” Rhodes added that during the 2nd week of the survey he found he was more productive in completing his homework when his phone was outside the room.

The survey “made me realize how much homework time I am wasting just on my phone when I could be being productive,” said sophomore Jacob Tabibian.

HSD and English teacher Erin Cody is hopeful that the study will drive improved sleep habits for her students. “There is a perception that they are ‘making up’ their sleep on the weekends, but the reality has proven otherwise,” she said.

While technology continues to rapidly offer new methods for sharing information, these advances often seem to come at a cost. “It’s a give and take– there are positives and negatives with it,” admitted Cody. “The social aspect is hard for a lot of students to manage but the technological stuff that I get to use as a teacher to giving you access to stuff is really cool.”

Rhodes believes that the survey has worked in the short term. “After the 1st week, I started taking my phone out of my room when I did homework, and I am just way more productive at getting things done,” he said.