Teenagers and their phones: ‘I plan to spend five minutes and it ends up an hour’

Eight your people reveal what they love, and hate, about their smartphones

Four members of Foróige’s national youth advisory panel, who also sit on its national council, and four members of the national executive of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union give snapshot views of the highs and lows of the ubiquitous smartphone:

Éadaoin Doherty (17), Carndonagh, Co Donegal

Loves: "Having my phone at my fingertips enables me to talk to my friends whenever I want to. As well as that, it gives me something to do as there is a huge lack of facilities for young people in my town." 
Hates: "It can be a huge distraction. I find myself planning to spend five minutes and it ends up as an hour or more."

Ciara Fanning (19), Cahir, Co Tipperary

Loves: "How instant communication and information can be – informing myself about international events and other movements – eg climate action, which rely heavily on social media and phones to connect activists." 
Hates: "The power it holds that makes people feel as though they aren't really having fun or living their lives properly if it doesn't seem to compare to what other people show on Instagram etc."

Mitchella Lacuesta (17), Ballina, Co Mayo

Loves: "Having access to practically whatever I want. I have the internet, which has endless knowledge, I have music, games and social media, and other strong forms of communication."
Hates: "I sometimes feel disconnected from whatever I'm doing or whoever I'm with. I feel like phones are a safety net for whenever someone feels awkward or just doesn't want to get involved."


Caoilfhinn Ní Choiligh (19), Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Loves: "You have the answers to pretty much any question at your disposal."
Hates: "Fear of the radiation, so I never leave it in my front pocket as it's so near the ovaries."

Jack Kelly (15), Hartstown, Dublin 15

Loves: "It keeps me connected to friends, which I have all around the country, not just in Dublin. I am able to organise plans, keep in constant contact with people and see what my friends are up to at a fingertip's reach."
Hates: "I am constantly looking at new messages and it arguably controls many conversations I have, through what I see on my phone rather than real-life situations."

Gearoid O’Donovan (17), Dungarvan, Co Waterford 

Loves: "The access to friends from social media." 
Hates: "The impatience it gives you, ie, wanting replies ASAP and not wanting to watch ads when watching TV."

Eoghan Flood (15), Truagh, Co Monaghan

Loves: "The feeling I can easily talk to my friends when we have free time."
Hates: "It is more difficult to get to sleep some nights because I didn't stop early enough to rest my brain (blue light)."

Seán Carey (17), Co Longford

Likes: "Being able to get in contact with any one of my friends or family at any time."
Dislikes: "It's a huge distraction in day-to-day life."

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Sheila Wayman

Sheila Wayman

Sheila Wayman, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, family and parenting