Culture Post: Researcher Claims Teens More Isolated, Depressed Than Ever Because of Smartphones

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on CNBC.

Teenagers today are more depressed, have higher rates of suicide, and hang out with friends less often than teens in earlier eras, according to one researcher, who has blamed the rise of smartphones for the problem.

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State, wrote in The Atlantic this week that she’s noticed a number of stark behavioral changes in teens since smartphones became popular. She argued that the rates of change are the sharpest she’s seen in researching data from the 1930s onward.

Among her findings:

  • Teens go out a lot less with friends and on fewer dates.
  • They are much less interested in driving.
  • They report feeling lonely a lot more often.
  • Rates of depression and suicide have “skyrocketed” since 2011.
  • The more time they spend looking at screens, the more depressed they say they feel — “There’s not a single exception” among any age group, Twenge writes.

Adolescence has always been a hard time, and a lot of kids feel left out or ignored by their peers. But Twenge argued that smartphones and social media make it even worse because when people do go out, they post pictures of their activities—making it clear how much fun they were having.

Twenge also noted some positive effects: Teen pregnancy is at an all time low, teen homicide is a lot rarer than it used to be, and they’re drinking a lot less.

Yet overall, Twenge painted a pretty convincingly grim picture, and her research may spur parents to think how they can limit the amount of time their kids spend alone in their rooms, on their phones or computers.

Read the full article here.

Source: CNBC
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/05/smartphones-ruining-mental-health-teens.html

Find more culture news on HomeWord’s Culture Blog, named in 2016 as one of the top 50 culture blogs on the planet!

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Jim Liebelt

Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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