Making the Connection

By Addriena Bradley

You might be using your cell phone to talk to your friends and family, do schoolwork, scroll social media, check your emails, and more. But is your phone causing more mental and physical harm than good? 

A 2019 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of nearly 450 college students 18 years or older found they may be spending upwards of eight to 11 hours per day on their cell phones. 

A more recent study by the Frontiers in Psychiatry journal found that excessive smartphone use is related to psychiatric, cognitive, emotional, and physical medical complications.  

According to Frontiers in Psychiatry the most common medical effects of cell phone overuse are depression, anxiety, ADHD, sleep problems, substance abuse, migraines, self-image, and reduced physical activity. The causes listed by a study in the Computers in Human Behavior journal are gaming, browsing the internet, social media, texting, emailing, and phone calling. 

When walking around the Daemen University campus there are students on their phones almost everywhere. Walking in the halls, waiting in line for coffee at 78 West, sitting in class before it starts, and in the library while studying. 

Cell phone overuse and struggles with mental health are found all around the world, including here on campus.

Camryn Budziszewski, a freshman global and local sustainability major, said that she uses her phone to check school emails, Blackboard messages from professors, text her friends and browse social media; she said her daily average phone screen time is 11.5 hours. 

Budziszewski said her phone usage has affected her mental health, “Social media has made me feel like I need to portray a certain self-image to fit in.” 

Budziszewski also said that she feels addicted to her cell phone. 

Jake LaPrairie, junior business administration major with a specialization in sports management and student-athlete on the men’s soccer team, said he spends about five and a half hours per day on his phone. 

LaPrairie said he uses his phone for school, social media, and staying in contact with his teammates and coach.

LaPrairie said that his phone usage has had effects on his mental health, “It probably affects it. I don’t know how exactly but it definitely adds onto the other things in my life.” 

The Counseling, Health, Insurance, and Prevention Center (CHIP) located in the WICK Center offers free counseling for students. The CHIP webpage says the center provides the resources and knowledge so that students can “positively impact their emotional, social and physical wellbeing.” 

Not everyone on campus knows about the services that are offered through the CHIP center. 

Budziszewski said she did not know about the center, but after learning about the CHIP she says she feels comfortable seeking out their services.

Counseling services can be found in WICK offices 117-120; simply fill out the counseling support form, found on the Daemen website, to get help regarding ADHD, depression, anxiety, time and stress management, substance abuse, self-esteem concerns, and more.

If you are not fully comfortable receiving one-on-one counseling through the CHIP center, you can take advantage of the Wildcat Wellness programs. These programs are focused on personal wellbeing, sexual violence prevention, and substance use prevention.

Keep an eye out for emails from Health Services regarding Wildcat Wellness and Spotlight programs. 

Wildcat Wellness programs often require students to RSVP to the event. 

There are also programs open to all students without reserving a spot and these open events are Wellness Spotlights where students can learn about specific topics, such as food or healthy relationships. 

These programs allow you to connect with your peers while practicing self-care and gaining awareness of sexual assault and substance use prevention. 

If you are experiencing effects on your mental health from overusing your cell phone, consider taking a break from social media, limiting your screen time, or reaching out to the CHIP center for one-on-one counseling or peer-led wellness programs. 

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