Have you wondered how technology is affecting the current generation? Should you be concerned about all the screens your teen seems to be on perpetually?
For the past 25 years, a researcher (Jean Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University) has made it a point to study generational differences. Her research led to an eye-opening article for The Atlantic. Here are the results of her study. If you know a teen, pay attention as the results should lead to a call to action.
Twenge found that the everyday experiences of having smart phones and the rise of social media have radically changed this new generation that she calls iGEN or GenBorn (born 1995-2012) . Today’s teens are different than the millennials who preceded them. While both generations grew up with the web, iGEN has had the continuous presence of phones and social media in their lives. That presence has shaped their social lives in different ways.
How teens spend their time: Virtual spaces have replaced actual spaces. What this means is that the typical call to independence with teens leaving the house to congregate has changed. Twenge found that the need to go out is not as strong as “community” that is a touch away. As a result, this has changed social interactions, mental and physical health as noted below:
Teens are physically safer: Due to the twin rise of social media and smartphones, teens can spend more time in their bedrooms on the phone rather than going out. This means less chance for physically reckless behavior. From a pure safety point of view, teens are in the house and safe.
Teens are psychologically more vulnerable: Teen depression and suicide rates have skyrocketed since 2012. “Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.” The research indicates–the more time spent on screens, the more unhappy and at risk a teen is for…