What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• The author interviews Jean Twenge, a writer and professor who argues that smartphones are contributing to poor mental health and anxiety in younger generations.
• How can philanthropists and the social sector help to mitigate issues around technology addiction?
• Read about a campaign run by technology companies that are trying to curb the tech addiction by not directly targeting children for their sales.
One writer, professor discusses why smartphones make kids unhappy, and how it affects their mental health.
For the first time, a generation of children is going through adolescence with smartphones ever-present. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has a name for these young people born between 1995 and 2012: "iGen."
She says members of this generation are physically safer than those who came before them. They drink less, they learn to drive later and they're holding off on having sex. But psychologically, she argues, they are far more vulnerable.
"It's not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades," she writes in a story in The Atlantic, adapted from her forthcoming book. And she says it's largely because of smartphones.
What is this generation facing that worries you so much?
iGen is showing mental health issues across a wide variety of indicators. They're more likely than young people just five or 10 years ago to say that they're anxious, that they have symptoms of depression, that they have thought about suicide or have even [attempted] suicide.
Is it specifically the smartphone, or is it social media? Or is it the number of hours per day spent on these things?
So, you look at the pattern of loneliness. It suddenly begins to increase around 2012. And the majority of Americans had a cell phone by the end of 2012, according to the Pew Center.
Can you propose solutions that might help people?
The first is just awareness that spending a lot of time on the phone is not harmless and that if you're spending a lot of time on the phone, then it may take away from activities that might be more beneficial for psychological well-being, like spending time with people in person.
Read the full article about smartphones by Audie Cornish at NPR