by Kathleen Teel

     In our modern society, people are staring at their phone more than talking to each other, or are they? Students at Park View are no exception, usually owning smartphones. What are they used for? Junior Andrea Garcias Gamez , uses her smartphone to contact her parents whenever she stays afterschool, and she isn’t the only one, both senior Andrew Conran and sophomore Mary Nicholes also utilize their phones to contact parents.

     However, parental communication is not the only function technology has. Technology is a means of hanging out with friends or searching for inspiration. For example, Conran spends time with his friends by playing online video games, such as Overwatch or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. “We (His friends) own them together, and they’re repeatable experiences. We can play them multiple times and still have fun,” says Conran. This is what most Conran’s weekends are, occasionally he will meet up with friends. In a similar case, Nicholes also plays Overwatch with friends, however it is not the primary way she and her friends interact with each other. Preferring texting as a way to spend time with her friends, Gamez also texts friends via apps or messaging, but does not partake in online gaming, or gaming in general.

     Physical friends are not the only people students talk to online, students like Nicholes are part of various online communities. Nicholes owns an app called Amino, which allows her to join or create fan-communities for different interests or franchises. In addition to being the co-leader of the Miitopia Amino, she is also part of four other communities.

     Current events worm their way into social media feeds and conversations. “I learned about Hurricane Jose from a joke on Facebook.” Says Nicholes. Gamez discovers news through her friends on Instagram and her Pinterest feed. While Nicholes and Gamez don’t actively search for current news or information, Conran does. Focusing primarily on political or gaming news, due to his interest in debating with other people.

     Some students prefer speaking face to face instead of texting each other. However, Gamez thinks some students find online communication appealing because, “It’s easier to communicate emotions, maybe they have friends online but might not have a lot of real life friends. Plus, it removes anxiety.”