The twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.
The headline atop Twenge’s essay in the September 2017 edition of The Atlantic asks, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
I braced myself; “nostalgist hysteria alert?”, I wondered.
Not so; her essay is all the more disturbing because it is evidence-based, it does not rush to conclusions, and is not definitely not the work of a “fogey” who fears anything new.
Its research results and telling examples are North American, but the essay is pertinent, globally.
Perhaps its most chilling sentence, which refers to research on US teenagers, is this:
All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness.
Or, perhaps this:
As teens have started spending less time together, they have become less likely to kill one another, and more likely to kill themselves.
Read the essay, here.