I should start by stating the obvious: I like technology and phones, and I think it’s essential for kids to be exposed to it so that they can be prepared for the future ahead. That said, despite its click-bait title, Jean Twenge’s Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? really got to me. She studied how teens tend to spend their time, and how it affects their mental health, and came to some alarming conclusions:
More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.
Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.
I know that sounds a bit like fear-mongering—and maybe it’s not as bad as Jean makes it sound. But it’s still worth reading the article and making up your own mind based on the data presented.