Escape Your Phone-Learn English And Connect With Real Life Ep 731

A young boy with a smartphone trapped behind a glass window, with a wonderful world outside. Engaging English Lessons on YouTube for Everyone.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 3605 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 19 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 13.5 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

Learn English Language: Are Smartphones Ruining Childhood?

Ever feel like your smartphone is an extension of your arm? In today’s Adept English lesson, we dive deep into the world of screen time and its impact on us and our children. Discover the surprising ways technology shapes our lives and learn English along the way. Perfect for anyone looking to blend language learning with real-life insights. Don’t miss out—this lesson might just change how you see your phone.

In today's latest lesson! 📚

  • 📱 Getting a tech-life balance
  • 🗣️ Improving your English conversation skills
  • 🎓 Excelling in exams & life
  • 🌍 Navigating social media wisely

✔Lesson transcript:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
⭐ Leonardo da Vinci

This English lesson is all about learning practical vocabulary centred around a topic that touches all our lives: technology use. Any language learning guru, would say this kind of content is gold.

It's real, it's relevant, and it's packed with everyday language and expressions. As you listen repeatedly, you're not just learning words; you're soaking up how English flows in natural conversation, a key step towards fluency.

Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.
⭐ Christian Lous Lange

Transform your English with our YouTube lessons. Real-life topics, simple English. Start watching now! 📺 #EnglishLessons #AdeptEnglish

More About This Lesson

Control your screen time to increase your learning and feel better with Adept English. Discover how managing your tech smartly can change your life and learning for the better.

Books were my pass to personal freedom.
⭐ Oprah Winfrey

Cutting down on screen time can make you happier and smarter. Find out how less time with gadgets can improve teens' health and help everyone feel more connected to the real world.

  1. Real-life topic discussion: You learn about the impact of smartphones, a topic you can relate to.
  2. British culture insight: The story about red telephone boxes offers a peek into British culture.
  3. Listening practice: Tuning in improves your listening skills, crucial for fluency.
  4. New vocabulary: Words like "teenager," "obfuscation," and "displace" expand your vocabulary.
  5. Social issues awareness: The lesson raises awareness about technology's role in mental health.
  6. Active learning encouragement: You're encouraged to listen multiple times for practice.
  7. Critical thinking: You're prompted to think about technology's pros and cons in your life.
  8. Parental perspective: Offers insights on managing tech use among children, relevant for parents.
  9. Conversation starter: Topics discussed can serve as conversation starters with peers.
  10. UK government actions: You learn about the UK's stance on mobile phones in schools.

Dive into this lesson to unlock English learning packed with real-world insights about technology's role in our lives. Discover studies showing that less screen time means better memory, sleep, and well-being. This lesson isn't just about words; it's about gearing up for a smarter, healthier way of living and learning English through real-life topics.

We need to find a way to balance our use of technology with the necessity of living a healthy life.
⭐ Sherry Turkle

So are you ready to level up your English and your approach to using technology? Follow and subscribe to Adept English. Enjoy exciting topics and learn fluent English with us today. Fit English learning into your busy life with our podcasts and YouTube lessons. Learn anytime, anywhere! 🌍 #EasyEnglish #AdeptEnglish

Frequently Asked Questions

Taming your digital dragon with Adept English is like rediscovering the charm of those iconic red telephone boxes: a gateway to enriching connections and knowledge, minus the screen glare.

  1. How can limiting screen time improve my English learning and well-being? Limiting screen time helps you focus more on productive activities, like listening to English podcasts or engaging in conversations. This can enhance your English fluency and reduce stress, leading to better overall well-being.
  2. What are some alternative activities to screen time that can aid in learning English? Consider activities like reading English books, journaling in English, or having conversations with native speakers. These can significantly improve your language skills while reducing screen time.
  3. How does screen time affect teenagers' mental health and learning? Excessive screen time can lead to increased mental health issues among teenagers, as highlighted by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Limiting screen time can foster better social interactions and focus, crucial for learning and mental well-being.
  4. What measures can schools and parents take to control screen time? Schools can enforce mobile phone-free policies during school hours, as suggested by the UK government. Parents can set limits on screen time, encouraging other activities that promote learning and social interactions.
  5. How can technology addiction be addressed, especially in children and teenagers? It's important to set clear boundaries and encourage activities that don't involve screens. Engaging in hobbies, sports, and face-to-face interactions can help mitigate the effects of technology addiction and promote a balanced lifestyle.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Icon: A famous symbol or image that represents something important.
  • Tech-savvy: Knowing a lot about modern technology, especially computers and the internet.
  • Smartphones: Mobile phones that can do many things like a computer, such as going online, sending emails, and playing games.
  • Guidelines: Advice on how to do something well.
  • Socialize: To spend time with other people for fun.
  • Withdrawal: Feeling upset or sick because you have stopped taking something you are used to, like a drug.
  • Exponentially: Increasing very fast at a constantly growing rate.
  • Correlation: A connection between two things where one affects or changes the other.
  • Obfuscation: Making something hard to understand on purpose.
  • Displace: To take the place of something else.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Escape Your Phone-Learn English And Connect With Real Life

Balancing our tech use for teenagers, children and us adults!

Hi there. How do you manage your screen time effectively? 'Screen time' means the amount of time that you spend on your devices, on your phone or laptop. Do you ensure that technology works effectively for you? Or does it risk taking over your life? Today, I'm talking about smartphone use. This affects most of us, but it may be affecting our children and our teenagers much more. A 'teenager'? That means 'someone whose age ends in teen', T-E-E-N. So people aged 13 to 19, they're teenagers or 'teens' as we sometimes call them. We all pass through this stage, of course, of being a teenager, though I'm old enough to say it was a very different world when I was a teenager. I remember one of my children asking me, "Mummy, what type of mobile phone did you have when you were at school?" This made me laugh. And I also remember the horror when I replied, "We didn't have mobile phones or computers. We only had landlines and those red telephone boxes if we wanted to call someone". This world was very difficult for my children to imagine.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

From red telephone boxes to smartphones

Those British red telephone boxes - quite an icon.They've now been made into all kinds of things, including free book exchanges. And one I know locally is filled with silk flowers. So here we have an English language learning podcast on a relevant topic, plenty of useful common English vocabulary here. Don't forget, if you want to practise your English, listen to this podcast a number of times.

So a question - what if this tech-savvy world with our ever-present smartphones is changing us in ways we hadn't fully realised and changing the lives and the psychology of our children and our teenagers?


A young couple having a romantic dinner, but both are looking at smartphones, not each other. Improve Your English Skills with

©️ Adept English 2024

So mobile phones and in particular smartphones have been with us for quite a lot of years now. And if you're a teenager through to 20 something, it probably feels like you've always had a smartphone. It's hard to imagine life without. Smartphones are such an integral part of our lives. What did we do before? How would we do without them?

Technology In schools: Enabler or distraction?

Yet the UK government in February this year issued guidelines, strong advice if you like, to schools pushing a mobile phone-free environment during school hours. Basically banning mobile phones in school. This move is aimed at fostering better social interactions and focus on learning. And it's supported by many people, including me. The government guidelines go as far as advising, searching bags for mobile phones. And even mobile phones that are switched off are not allowed in school. The school that my children have gone to has always had this rule. And I think that's a good thing. You go to school to learn academic subjects like Maths, English, Chemistry, Geography, but you also go to school to learn to socialise, have a conversation, get along with people, make friends, and generally communicate in real life. The lack of phone has meant at times that as a parent, it's been difficult to get a message to my child in school, inconvenient even. But I think this is a price worth paying. I think the UK government have got it right on this one.

Can phone use cause withdrawal effects?

If you're a parent with a teenager or even a younger child, you may know from your own experience how difficult it is to take their phones and their technology away. It can feel sometimes like you're asking them to withdraw from an addictive drug! They get really angry and unpleasant if you take their technology away. They go into a sort of withdrawal and don't know what to do with themselves if you take their technology away. Just looking at my daughters in their 20s, phone and technology use was something I worried about when they were growing up, but now they both have to use technology for their work, so they do value being offline and interacting with friends in real life. Their phones seem to be used appropriately for messaging, staying in touch, doing research, buying things, finding places, maybe watching videos. But phones don't take the place of real life meeting for them. So it doesn't seem problematic to me. With my son age 15, it's different.

The COVID pandemic arrived just as he was 11 years old and starting secondary school. Playing video games and interacting online with people was his only way of making friends and spending time with friends. Though he does see them now in real life too, of course. But during the pandemic, and since it's felt much harder to take his technology away. It's been where his friendships have happened, his connection with the outside world. And I find myself completely unable to remove his iPad because that's where he does his homework! But thankfully, my son's school have never allowed mobile phones. So friendships are in real life when he's in school, and that's a good thing. But perhaps for all of us, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the essential role of technology in staying connected with people. Yet it showed us also the necessity of balance and that there's no substitute for real life meeting.

Are smartphones making our children anxious?

So we are growing increasingly concerned about mobile phone use, specifically the use of smartphones for all of us, but especially for children and teenagers. That UK government advice is driven by teachers' feedback. Teachers need their students' attention to be able to teach. That's impossible in a room full of kids on mobile phones. But actually, further data is coming out that raises questions about smartphone use. Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has written a book called "The Anxious Generation." In this book, he presents the idea that the huge increase in mental health problems amongst our children and teenagers coincides with, started at the same time as smartphones became the norm.

Whether Easter holidays or just holidays, improve your English!

More on this in a minute. First of all, if you have some time off work, maybe for Easter, or if you don't celebrate Easter, maybe you've got a holiday coming up soon, why not download one of our podcast bundles? Adept English podcasts can be yours. So whatever you spend your free time or your holiday time doing, you can be improving your English at the same time. You know where to find all that -

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

The exponential rise in children’s mental health problems

Certainly in the UK, you don't have to look far to find data on how mental health problems for children and teenagers have become far more common in recent years. Hugely so, in fact. Mental health services in the UK are stretched to breaking point. The number of children referred to emergency mental health care has gone up by 50% just in the last three years. But generally, rates for mental health problems have risen exponentially in the last 10 years. That's 'exponentially', E-X-P-O-N-E-N-T-I-A-L-L-Y. It means 'off the chart, as a rise'. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, suicidality, it's all rising at a frightening rate. That's a subject for another day, another podcast perhaps.

Correlation and obfuscation?! Tech companies: Innovators or exploiters?

But the connection that Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt is making is an interesting one. There is a time correlation, C-O-R-R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N, between the rise in mental health difficulties and the adoption of smartphones. In other words, if you saw on a graph the rise in mental health problems and the adoption of smartphones, it would look pretty much the same. Jonathan Haidt talks about how technologies have not taken responsibility here. And here comes the more difficult English in the form of a quotation for you to practise with. He says, "Companies have done little or no research on the mental health effects of their products on children and adolescents." That means teenagers. "And they've shared no data with researchers studying health effects. When faced with growing evidence that their products were harming young people, they mostly engaged in denial, obfuscation and public relations campaigns." That's what Jonathan Haidt says. 'Obfuscation'. That's O-B-F-U-S-C-A-T-I-O-N. Lovely word. If you 'obfuscate', yes, there's a verb too, it means that you 'purposefully make something difficult to understand or confusing'. So people 'obfuscate' in order to avoid a truth being known. It's very common obfuscation I find in this world. Large organisations again, I'm afraid.

Imagine Not Seeing Images In Your Dreams-Is That You?

Jonathan Haidt also talks about the ways in which these large tech companies and software designers purposefully use psychology and psychological tricks to make their apps more addictive, especially to children. Haidt says, and I'm quoting again, "For girls, some of the greatest damage is inflicted by social media. For boys, video games and porn sites have the most damaging impacts."

And I say, "Children's brains are not fully developed. It takes until your mid to late 20s for your brain to be fully mature". So children are hardly able to resist clever psychological tricks, thought up by clever adult psychologists and designed to manipulate. And companies are concerned only by profit, making money and growing their user numbers. Hardly fair, is it? And technology addiction is a real thing.

Do phones erode the joy of real-world hobbies?

So there's that problem of addiction and reliance on technology to feel okay, but also damaging, I think, and more hidden - what is it that smartphone use and technology displaces? The verb 'to displace', D-I-S-P-L-A-C-E - it means 'to take the place of something'. So all that time on our smartphones, what would we be doing instead? And what would our children and teenagers be doing instead if they weren't doing that? Well, without wanting to sound entirely like an old person talking about the good old days, I grew up without mobile phones or computers, and it meant I spent my time reading books, out on my bike, seeing friends, making things, making art, doing crafts, playing board games. That's B-O-A-R-D. Those were the things that I learned to get pleasure from. If I'd had access to a smartphone, I'm pretty sure I'd have done a lot less of all those things too. And these activities are still there in my adult life. I enjoy them a lot, and I'd be missing out hugely if I hadn't made those connections with these activities.

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So I can see that one of the most damaging aspects of the widespread use of smartphones for children and teenagers, it's all the things that they do less of. It means that they read less, they interact with others less, they go out less, they exercise less, perhaps they're not as creative. Much of the damage I would argue is done by what smartphone use 'displaces', all the stuff that children and teenagers and us adults don't do because we're using our technology. And I haven't even touched on the damage done to marriages and relationships by smartphone use. Perhaps that's for another day too.

Gaming or revising this Easter? Hmmm…

So it's the Easter holidays here. And I know I'm going to have to battle with my 15 year old. We'll negotiate how many hours a day of video gaming he's allowed, versus how much time he's going to spend on studying for those all important GCSE exams. So it's a battle I wage on the home front, as well as talking about it in this podcast. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, have smartphones affected your life or the lives of those around you? And do you think there's a link between smartphone use and the rise in mental health problems? It would be great to hear from you.


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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