Smartphone era leads to more depressed teens and suicides

It is hard to say exactly when the smartphone era began. Some will point to January 9th, 2007 when Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first version of the Apple iPhone. Keep in mind that smartphones had been available well before the unveiling of Apple's iconic handset. Some will say that the start of the smartphone era took place on July 10th, 2008 with the launch of the Apple App Store. The App Store really opened up these devices that users were purchasing, and helped give consumers a focus on what they wanted their phones to do.

While the rise of the smartphone has allowed drivers to get from point "A" to point "B" without getting lost, or has reminded countless people to take their medications on time or not to miss an appointment, there has been a downside to all of this constant reminding. According to a report in The Atlantic, adolescents growing up in the smartphone era are more prone to suffering through fits of depression and having thoughts of suicide. The author of the Atlantic piece, Jean M. Twenge, puts those born between 1995 and 2012 into a group she calls iGen. These are the people who have never had to live without an internet connection in their lives, and they are even more depressed than Millennials. Twenge puts the blame clearly on the tool of the iGen category which is the smartphone.

Part of the problem is that the iGen group connect to their friends and peers digitally. And the more they use their smartphones, the more those in the iGen category start feeling more uneasy with real human touch. A 13-year old minor girl with the anonymous handle of  Athena has owned an iPhone since she was 11. "We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people," she says. And that could be the irony of this period of electronics. As we get closer to staying connected to people 24/7,  we find out that we really don't like people.

The magazine quotes some interesting stats. Eight graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 times more likely to be unhappy than others their age who use social media less. Those spending six to nine hours a week on social media are 47% more likely to be unhappy than those who use social media less. The data does work the other way. Those spending an above average amount of time with friends are 20% less likely to be unhappy.

So for those who fit in the iGen category, keep this simple rule in mind. "The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression." Whether you're a parent of an iGen teen or you are an iGen teen, this is an important thing to know.
 
source: TheAtlantic

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24 Comments

1. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Damn, that's pretty tragic. I don't blame tech for people's mishandling of it, but having your entire world revolve around a five inches object (ha... made a funny... I apologize) has to create some societal issues. Doesn't help how caught up we get in social media and how bad an influence that can be on the human psyche at that age. Crap... feels.

2. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1556; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

As a 90s kid I can say I miss the days before smartphones and social media obsession. Constantly being bombarded by notifications can cause a feeling of slavery, take a break from the phone and don't respond and people get mad cause your ignoring them. I hate it. I'm known as anti social by some because I leave my phone on silent and am slow to respond.

7. belieber1996

Posts: 6; Member since: May 27, 2013

"Constantly being bombarded by notifications can cause a feeling of slavery," especially when you feel like you have to be at everyone's beckon call.

3. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

It's more likely people who can't find job or teens with social problems use smartphone as a way to cope. Its their life problems that causes depression not the smartphone

22. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

That's the easy answer, at least. The more complex answer most likely includes that the need to keep your internet persona interesting 24/7 pushes people to depression. Having to deal with that while you're growing up probably doesn't help.

4. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"It is hard to say exactly when the smartphone era began. Some will point to January 9th, 2007 when Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first version of the Apple iPhone." Really? Windows, Symbian and others which existed before the iPhone weren't smartphones? I wonder...

5. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

How many people bought any of those? Eras don't begin until they are recognized as happening. People don't remember Romulus, they remember Caesar.

10. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

2006: "Nokia remains market leader in Q4, accounting for 50% of all shipments" http://tinyurl.com/y7zd6h2x

12. Alan01

Posts: 611; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Before the iPhone, smartphones were basically business tools only. And if you read the story, you'd see that I wrote how smartphones were around prior to the iPhone unveiling. But even if you hate Apple, there was a switch turned on 1/9/07 that cannot be denied. Alan F.

14. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Before the iPhone, smartphones were basically business tools only." So, the 64 million people who bought them in 2006 were mostly business users? Wow. "And if you read the story, you'd see that I wrote how smartphones were around prior to the iPhone unveiling." I read it, but I wasn't calling you out individually in the first place with post #4... but was just wondering why people would say the smartphone era began in January 2007. "But even if you hate Apple, there was a switch turned on 1/9/07 that cannot be denied." Correct... Though the breakthrough the original iPhone brought was more about the software than the hardware.

23. apple-rulz

Posts: 2112; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Holy sh!t, do you have to turn every article posted by phonearena into a platform for your personal vendetta against Apple? You must be a lot of fun at parties. That was sarcasm by the way, judged by the way you write I imagine you don't get out of your moms basement often.

19. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Blackberry

21. tangbunna

Posts: 480; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

that time people use a phone with symbian happily. people may addicted to texting, not addicted to scrolling like you've done NOW. People take pictures of their family and friends to print and hang on their walls or stick in their hard cover books. unlike now they take pics with the phone even being nude to get likes and shares.

6. belieber1996

Posts: 6; Member since: May 27, 2013

It's so sad but I can relate to this article on so many levels, especially with the influence of constant texting and social media has on many of our daily lives, and it's only going to get worse with even more technological advancements.

8. JesseJames

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 22, 2015

The real problem is that parents today are doing a sh1t job at actually being parents.

9. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"Eras don't begin until they are recognized as happening" Yeah, because the 32 million people who bought Nokia smart mobile devices in 2006 weren't recognizing what was happening... right? https://www.canalys.com/newsroom/64-million-smart-phones-shipped-worldwide-2006 SMH

17. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

Most likely because their parents also busy with their own smartphone and didn't have time to spare with their kids :-/

20. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I'm an iGen but I'm not a teen, I liked social media enough I suppose but I don't see the appeal though, I know it can be good for keeping in touch with people but the social media obsessed people I know mostly sit on their phones and just read and reply to post on their news feeds like it's some hypnotizing drug that cause severe and abrupt mood swings smh and people wonder why I don't use social media that often, It's been months since I've spent more than 10 min on social media over the course of a month.

24. Ozsikhs

Posts: 58; Member since: Sep 03, 2015

sad, but facts

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