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Are Smartphones Destroying a Generation?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

smartphone mental health

Story at-a-glance -

  • Kids spend an inordinate amount of time on their smartphones, communicating with friends (and possibly strangers) via text, Twitter and Facebook, and work to keep up their Snapstreaks on Snapchat
  • Abrupt changes in teen behavior and psychological health emerged around 2012. Post-millennials spend more time alone, engaged in online socialization rather than face-to-face; they drive less, date less, have less sex and have poorer social and work skills than previous generations
  • Rates of teen depression and suicide have dramatically risen since 2011, and data suggest spending three hours or more each day on electronic devices raises a teen’s suicide risk by 35 percent
  • Between 2007 and 2015, the suicide rate for 12- to 14-year-old girls rose threefold; the suicide rate among boys doubled in that same time frame
  • Data reveal the more time teens spend online, the unhappier they are. Those who spend more time than average on activities that do not involve their smartphone are far more likely to report being “happy”

As a lover of technology, it pains me to see what technological advancements are doing to our youth. In a previous article for The Atlantic, Jean Twenge takes a deep dive into how smartphones, with 24/7 access to internet and social media, are affecting post-millennials’ mental health.

The article, which is well worth reading in its entirety, is adapted from Twenge’s book “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of Us.”


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