Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University has affixed a label to those individuals born between 1995 and 2012: “IGen.” Twenge 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.
Twenge says teens today are not spending face to face time with their peers where they can gain emotional support. She also says, “We know from lots and lots of research that spending time with other people in person is one of the best predictors for psychological well-being and one of the best protections against having mental health issues.”
iGen are displaying mental health challenges in a variety of ways. They are more likely than their peers from five years ago to suffer from depression and anxiety. Symptoms of loneliness begin to dramatically affect these individuals around 2012. The Pew Center reports that is when the majority of Americans, teens included, had a cell phone.
Twenge reminds parents that there are apps that allow them to restrict the amount of time per day kids can use the smartphone and also what time of the day they use it.
Our Note: There are some adults who can use the time usage restraint on their smartphones as well. The art of personal communication is under attack.
Source: NPR/Audie Cornish Gary R’nel
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