Teens and young adults all have one thing in common: Their childhood or adolescence coincided with the rise of the smartphone.
Some call this generation “Generation Z,” but if millennials aren’t called “Generation Y,” “Generation Z” doesn’t work. Neil Howe, who coined the term “millennials” along with his collaborator William Strauss, has suggested the next generation be called the “Homeland Generation,” but I doubt anyone will want to be named after a government agency.
A 2015 survey found that two out of three U.S. teens owned an iPhone. Our generation is known as the iGen
What makes iGen different? Growing up with a smartphone has affected nearly every aspect of their lives. They spend so much time on the internet, texting friends and on social media. Many of their activities are
That includes what was once the favorite activity of most teens: hanging out with their friends. Whether it’s going to parties, shopping at the mall, watching movies or aimlessly driving around, iGen teens are participating in these social activities at a significantly lower rate than their millennial predecessors.
iGen shows another pronounced break with millennials: Depression, anxiety, and loneliness have shot upward since 2012, with happiness declining.
The teen suicide rate increased by more than 50 percent, as did the number of teens with clinical-level depression.
To be clear, moderate smartphone and social media use – up to an hour a day – is not linked to mental health issues. However, most teens (and adults) are on their phones much more than that.
This is incredibly worrying.