Is the smartphone generation less resistant and more fragile?


The smartphone has designed the entire generation of children /

California, San Diego, United States (AFP) – For Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at the University of San Diego, United States, the combination of smartphones / social networks today forms teenagers born after 1995. They are called "iGen", more domestic, more immature generation and more prone to problems mentally

QUESTION: What is the iGen generation?

ANSWER: This is the first generation to live in all its youth in the age of smartphones, which has many consequences in the lives of adolescents.

They spend their free time in a significantly different way than previous generations. They spend a lot more time on the Internet, on social networks, playing video games, watching videos and spending much less time doing screen-based activities such as reading, sleeping or watching their friends. They become slower: at 18 they have less driving licenses, jobs, dating, alcohol, without parents …

This tendency has already begun with "millennials" already at the end of the nineties, and although technology does not explain everything, the smartphone has accelerated some trends in recent years, probably because young people can communicate With their friends who stay at home, they do not feel the need after a driving license or alone.

So iGen is probably the safest generation in history and teenagers love this idea. But they also think that something is missing and that the connection to their phone at any moment may not be the best way of life. They also hate talking with a friend to constantly look at their phone.

Q: You've been researching behavior and million teenagers. What did you notice?

A: When looking at generational changes over longer periods, we see that it takes a long time to see them, for example, one or two decades. But since 2011/2012, I began to see more sudden changes, such as a large increase in the number of adolescents who felt alone or excluded, or who believed that they could not do anything right that their life was worthless, all the classic symptoms of depression .

Depressive symptoms increased by 60% in five years, with rates of self-harm, such as cutting, which doubled or even tripled in girls, and suicidal suicide doubled in a few years …

When smart phones became common, when the proportion of Americans with one exceeded 50%, these problems began to appear. mentally You could say that this is just a coincidence, but there were no other events at this time to explain these changes and their acceleration.

And, after decades of research, we know that sleeping or seeing friends is essential for a mental balance, but spending hours and hours in front of the screen, no.

American teenagers today spend six to eight hours a day on social networks. It's not about the screens themselves that are a problem, the fact is that they have replaced other things that seem to have led to these problems mentally

Q: What would you advise your parents?

A: In a nutshell, this is good news because a lot of things they meet and The mental are now under our control. We can not change the genes we were born with, or we can solve poverty with a bundle of toes, but we can control how we spend our free time and helping our children.

Studies advocate the limitation of social networks for teenagers up to a maximum of two hours per day. This is a good balance for the exploitation of social networks and smart phones (communication, information, organizing …) with no inconvenience, which are significant.

For small ones, if we believe that our son needs a phone, we can offer him a phone without the Internet and therefore without all these temptations.

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