Saturday , June 12 2021

Generation of smartphone, less rebellious and psychologically more fragile

So iGen is probably the safest generation in history, and teenagers love this idea.

The combination of smart phones / social networks is shaped by today's teenagers.Bloomberg News

For Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at the University of San Diego, United States, the combination of smart phones / social networks today shapes teens born after 1995. She calls them "iGen", more of a home generation, more immature and more susceptible to mental health problems.

QUESTION: What is the iGen generation?

ANSWER: This is the first generation that has survived the adolescence in the smartphones era, and it has many consequences in the lives of teens.

They spend their free time in a fundamentally different way than previous generations. They spend more time on the Internet, on social networks, playing video games, watching movies and spending much less time doing activities outside of the screen, such as reading, sleeping or seeing friends. They grow slower: at the age of 18, they have a lower obligation to have a driving license, work, dating, drinking, going out without parents …

This trend began earlier, at the end of the 1990s, at "milenialsi"and although technology does not explain everything, it seems that the smartphone has accelerated some trends in recent years, probably because because teenagers can communicate with friends staying at home, they do not feel the need to have a driving license or holiday alone

So iGen is probably the safest generation in history, and teenagers love this idea. But they also feel that something is missing and that the connection to the phone all the time may not be the best way to live. They also hate it when they talk to a friend that they are constantly looking at their phone.

P: You have studied the behavior and health of millions of teenagersWhat did you notice?

A: When we examine generational changes for long periods, we see that they need a lot of time to be visible, for example, one or two decades. But starting from 2011/2012, I began to see more sudden changes, such as a large increase in the number of teens who said they felt lonely or excluded, or who believed they could not do anything right, that their lives were worthless, all the classic signs depression.

Depressive symptoms have increased by 60% in just five years, and the rate of self-injury, such as a cut that has doubled or even tripled in girls, and teen suicide, which has doubled in a few years …

Just when smartphones became commonplace, when the percentage of Americans who exceeded 50%, these mental health problems began to show up. It can be said that this is just a coincidence, but at that time there was no other event that would explain these changes and their acceleration.

After years of research, we know that sleeping or seeing friends is fundamental to mental balance, but spending hours in front of the screen, no.

Today, American teens spend between six and eight hours a day on social networks. The problem is not the screens themselves, it is the fact that they have replaced other things, which seems to lead to these problems with mental health.

Q: What advice would you give your parents?

A: In short, this is good news, because many things that determine happiness and mental health are now under our control. We can not change the genes we came into the world or solve the problem of poverty with our fingers, but we can control how we spend our free time and we can help our children.

Research recommends limiting social networks to a maximum of two hours a day for teens. It's good to use social networks and a smartphone (communicate, inform, organize …) without inconvenience, which are significant.

For the little ones, if we believe that our son needs a phone, we can give you a phone without internet and therefore without all these temptations.

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