Phones and Happiness
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

The most recent Gallup survey has both good news and bad news. The good news is that Americans over the age of 60 may be some of the happiest people on earth. The bad news is that young Americans under 30 are not happy. In fact, they rank very far down the chart on global happiness.

Smartphones explain the difference. Two professors have been documenting this for the last decade. Jean Twenge is best known for her book, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–And Completely Unprepared. She found consistently decreased levels of happiness beginning in 2013.

Because they were on their phones, adolescents were spending less time interacting with others. They spend less time developing friendships, get less sleep, and attend fewer religious services. Instead, they spend their time looking at screens, posting comments on social media, texting, and playing games. No wonder she has found a causal link between teen depression and smartphones.

Jonathan Haidt has been on my program to talk about his book, The Coddling of the American Mind. His new book just came out: The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.

He provided a preview of his research in Atlantic, “End the Phone-Based Childhood Now.” He begins his article by documenting that “something went suddenly and horribly wrong for adolescents in the early 2010s.” Suicide rates (along with loneliness and friendlessness) rose dramatically. Young people were struggling to find meaning in life.

I encourage you to read his twenty-page article in Atlantic. It should be a wake-up call to all parents.viewpoints new web version

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