Phone games alter teen priorities


Photo by Nikolette Delpierre

During their Journalism 1 class, freshmen Bea Roberts, Gabby Davis and sophomore Elli Karistinou challenge each other to various games on their phones. The students could be using their time more efficiently by working on their upcoming Pitch articles.

With summer coming up, many students are going to be using their free time uniquely. Many are planning to travel, hang out with friends, or even work efficiently on their college resumes. Some, though, are choosing to use their time differently, spending their days playing forms of video games, most commonly on their phones.

Among the WJ population and around the world, the use of phone games is common and gaining in popularity. Some of the most popular games among Wildcats include Subway Surfers, Candy Crush, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Roblox and Hay Day. These games can be time-consuming, having players complete tasks, earn achievements or play to the in-game death. Many of these games include restart options or time-relient goals, which bring the players back for more. Though these are good for the games’ companies and engagement, this can affect the users by leading to a possible screen or game addiction.

With the onset of the Covid pandemic, lockdown left many alone and stuck in their homes suddenly with much more free time. Many discovered new ways to take up their time, through TikToks, baking, learning to knit, binge watching shows, gaming and other activities. Games like Among Us, Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite and other multiplayer games were popular during lockdown, as people played them with their friends as a way to get some sort of human contact.

With nothing else to do, many students spent great amounts of time playing games on numerous electronics, such as phones or gaming consoles. Even when online school was implemented, students would resort to phone games and other apps during Zoom classes due to being in the comfort of their own room and overstimulated by their various devices.

Even post-pandemic this behavior has carried on, with students continuing to play games on their phones during classes, after school or whenever they can. This driven behavior has led to some becoming addicted to these games, finding themselves unable to stop playing.

Many of these games started off for their users as a method of stress relief or a way to pass time during the pandemic, but for some has evolved into an urgent task and an unnecessary stressor.

According to a poll surveying WJ students of all grades, most students claim that playing these games has slowed their overall productivity. With a form of addiction to these games, some disregard their priorities when it comes to school work and other important activities. Students may get distracted by them during school or use them as a method of procrastination. For others, these games serve as an outlet of energy, though that energy could be spent elsewhere on more productive or healthy activities.

The possible addiction from phone games and its side effects can be detrimental to a person’s mental health, physical health and behavior. There are various ways to combat this, one of the methods shown to be most effective is to set personal time limits when playing these games and sticking to them, as well as not giving in to urges to play or only playing during appropriate times for a short amount of time. Another helpful method would be to replace the gaming habit with a more productive habit, such as exercise or reading, in order to more effectively output the youthful energy of kids and teens across the world.