The following is excerpted from an online article posted by The Hill.
America’s teenagers are seeing a lot less of one another.
The share of high school seniors who gathered with friends in person “almost every day” dropped from 44 percent in 2010 to 32 percent in 2022, according to Monitoring the Future, a national survey of adolescents. Social outings for the typical eighth grader dwindled from about 2 1/2 a week in 2000 to 1 1/2 in 2021.
The nation’s teens have traded face time for Facetime. Adolescents are spending less time gathering in shopping malls, movie theaters and rec rooms, and more time connecting on Instagram, TikTok and Discord.
“Teens are spending a lot more time communicating with each other electronically and a lot less time hanging out with each other face to face,” said Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and author of “Generations,” a new book about generational differences.
“Going to the mall has gone down. Driving in the car for fun has gone down. Going to the movies has gone down,” she said. “We’re talking about kids who are spending five, six, seven hours a day on social media.”
About half of the nation’s high-school seniors met up with friends almost daily in the 1970s, when researchers at the University of Michigan began tracking their outings in the Monitoring the Future study.
In the decades since, a gradually shrinking share of teens has reported regular meetups with friends. The steepest decline commenced around 2010, just as smartphones and social media were taking hold. U.S. smartphone ownership reached 50 percent in 2012.
Today’s teenagers may be spending more time in front of screens than any prior generation.
The average teen spent eight hours and 39 minutes on daily screen time for entertainment in 2021, up from six hours and 40 minutes in 2015, according to Common Sense Media, publisher of a closely watched Common Sense Census.