Apps: Wasteful or Useful?



Examples of apps on a normal smartphone.

Being in the age of technology, many people are spending a lot of time on their iPhones or other tech products on what companies call apps, or software applications. As they may range from productive to social to gaming purposes, these applications have spurred many debates on whether or not students should be allowed to use them.

One of the most widely used social media apps is Facebook. Many people (especially teens) use Facebook to keep up with their social world, but others are concerned that users are actually wasting time doing so. The app is mostly used to keep in touch with old friends from school and post videos or images of what someone found on the internet, such as Vines or memes. The major concern with Facebook is that teens and adults log in to their accounts when their priorities are left undone. Some people might say that they use it to procrastinate. These users claim that their so-called “short” five minute breaks turn into hour long breaks because they are interested in everything they see.

Another app that is known around the United States is Youtube. Similarly to Facebook, people post and search for videos to listen to music or just to view videos. According to research, music really does improves students’ attentiveness to work. Music that has low intensity (such as classical) has been seen to be the best to listen to while studying for a math test or reading. Like Facebook, teens who create and post videos are actually more likely to receive higher grades (as in A’s and B’s) probably due to academic videos. Despite this, about 37 percent of the student population get below a B in their grade point average, most likely due to the distractions and not finishing homework or projects.

There are also the productivity apps such as WriteRoom, a writing tool, similar to Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Apparently, it has a distraction (ad) free environment, perfect for writing essays. A pro to this Mac inclusive app is that it is not online, which helps reduce the distraction levels, and the only way one can exit the window is by selecting the close button on the hidden bar at the top. This is a productive app that may be good for a lot of people who take a writing class or just need to write an essay.

The question is: are apps productive or are they wasting students time? People don’t know for sure, but there is one thing that they do know: many people are either easily distracted by the technology, or they work hard to get their grades up.