I imagine that every older generation complains about the younger generation. But something is different. The youngest generation in America is desperately worried about themselves. That is the conclusion Mary Wakefield draws from the latest research done by Dr. Jean Twenge in her book, Generations.
She says we are right to be concerned. “Almost 30 percent of American girls have clinical depression and it’s the same across the Anglosphere. The suicide rate for ten-to-24-year-olds has tripled.” These are staggering statistics.
In previous commentaries, I have quoted Jean Twenge, who noticed major shifts in attitudes and behaviors starting in 2012. She wrote about this in her book, iGen, which identified the problems that surfaced due to the smartphone. It is clear, “The more hours a day a teen spends on social media, the more likely it is that he or she is depressed.”
Here is an interesting irony. Young people spend lots of time communicating online, yet they are lonely and isolated. According to her book, Generations, Twenge concluded that “One of the eye-popping facts is that teens are much lonelier now than they were 15 years ago.”
Why is this true? She explains, “Interacting face to face tends to be more co-operative and more emotionally close. It’s more honest but it’s also more agreeable. People have a very strong tendency online to say cruel things that they would never say to someone’s face.”
Mary Wakefield asked Jean Twenge if her kids have social media. Even the oldest of her three daughters does not have social media. They seem to be doing fine without it, believe it would be a waste of time, and consider it like junk food.