Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?"

Counselor's Corner - from Jessica Dambach

I would like to share my thoughts after reading a fascinating and sobering article titled "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?" which appears in the September issue of The Atlantic.  The San Diego State University professor and author,  Jean Twenge,  has studied generational trends for 25 years and has noticed some big differences in "IGen",  children born between 1995 and 2012 and  who don't remember a time without smart phones as part of their everyday life.

The bottom line is that the more time that teens spend on social media sites, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression, loneliness, feeling left out and sleep deprivation.
This generation has much less interest than previous generations in going out, having independence from their parents, working for pay, dating, getting their driver's license and even earlier sexual experiences.  Instead they are spending more times in their homes on their phones, which in turn causes them to be more isolated and unhappy.  
Professor Twenge advice for a happy adolescence is straightforward: Put down the phone, turn off the laptop when not doing homework, and do something—anything—that does not involve a screen. She warns that these analyses don’t unequivocally prove that screen time causes unhappiness; it’s possible that unhappy teens spend more time online. But recent research suggests that screen time, in particular social-media use, does indeed cause unhappiness.
What I have noticed is that adolescents feel pressure to respond to, post, check their likes, check out other people's stories, keep up the streak and be visible on social media, but when we limit this, it is actually a relief.  As parents we can give them the out by limiting their use and/or checking their sites.

This article is food for thought, the blog is a reminder to all of us, adults included, to keep balance in our lives.  Do something outside every day, talk together face to face, turn off the wi-fi or have a no -phones at the table rule.  As much as we all love our phones, I felt a surge of relief last year in the Middle Level when phones were no longer allowed.  

The link to the full article is below:
Feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you have, thank you.  Jessica

Jessica Dambach, LCMHC
Peoples Academy Middle Level School Counselor 
ESS Coordinator