In this article Jean Twenge looks at the possibility that smartphones have destroyed a generation. Twenge utilizes her vast knowledge about generations and analyzes how these generations have changed over the years. According to Twenge, there are many factors which shape a generation and each generation has unique attributes but it is also possible for the current generation to pick up a few characteristics from their predecessors. The main generation of interest for Twenge in this article is the iGen generation. The iGen generation consists of individuals who were born from 1995, a period when there was an advancement of the internet as well as technology. Twenge states that iGens rely more on their phones than they do any other device or person. The reliance on the phones is the basis of Twenge’s question and analysis of whether smartphones have destroyed a generation.
Twenge begins by giving a narration of an encounter that she has with an iGen and during the interaction Twenge comes to the conclusion that iGens spend more time on their phones than on anything else. Also, the generation relies more on their parents than their predecessors thus making it hard for them to disconnect from their parents (Twenge). The advancement of technology means that an individual can communicate with another person in real time without having to meet face to time. There are several social media platforms where the iGens get to share their pictures as well as their stories and they do find that the phone becomes a place where they can put their life and allow people access to their lives without forming a personal connection. People get to interact on these social media platforms as well as texting thus making it unnecessary for the members of this generation to go out and have real human interaction.
Twenge does make a valid point when she states that iGens are safer than their predecessors because they end up spending more time in their bedrooms than outside. It is true that an average teen will spend more than six hours on the phone texting and updating their social media platforms. Twenge states that the previous generations would go out and interact with people thus putting them at a higher risk of being kidnapped or even getting into an accident (Twenge). IGens do not feel the pressure to go out to parties, smoke or even consume alcohol because they find that they are comfortable staying behind their phones and chatting with their friends.
However, Twenge does state that simply because the child opts to stay at home it does not mean that they are safe and cannot come to any harm and I agree with her. While accidents caused by teenagers who are high on alcohol and other drugs have decreased, the number of suicides has been on the rise. Many young people believe that they need to get approval from individuals whom they do not know. They believe that by taking pictures and uploading them on social media platforms, they are entitled to as many likes as possible. Having a large follower’s base and being encouraged on social media has become so crucial to teens that it has become an addiction. Also, the number of suicides has been on the rise due to cyber bullying. Teenagers are at an impressionable age and when one posts a picture and gets negative comments they take them too seriously to the point of them taking their lives (Twenge). Therefore, Twenge is correct to state that the rate of depression as well as suicide rates is higher in this generation than it was in the previous generations.
One of the characteristic of iGens is that they do take a longer time to become adults than their predecessors. iGens rely more on their parents than on themselves and they do not get the need to be independent at an earlier age. Unlike their predecessors the millenials who took the initiative to learn things which would enable them to advance in their lives as adults such as driving, iGens tend to rely on their parents to help them. in the opening paragraph Twenge has a conversation with a thirteen year old girl who tells her that she has plans to spend her summer at home in her bedroom on her phone (Twenge). Also she states that when she needs to go to the mall, her parents take her and she has to keep them updated through her phone where she is at all times. As Twenge continues her analysis on this group she states that many individuals from this generation do not find the need to learn how to drive since their parents drive them to and from school. iGen has to be forced to take up activities which will help them to be independent such as driving. Therefore, it is true that this generation is more dependent on their parents than their predecessor’s
Twenge’s article is to be believed and adopted because it relies on facts and statistics. In her analysis she gives numbers and findings from other sources which help to validate her point. One point that she puts across is that smartphones have led to increased cases of depression and suicides. She does not leave the point at that but rather goes into details to show how smartphones can be blamed for the two and she states “people who do not sleep enough are prone to depression and anxiety” (Twenge). Many people from this generation spend time on their phones even at night thus shortening the amount of time they spend sleeping. When an individual does not allow the brain to rest, the brain becomes overloaded and the individual is unable to process and effectively think about the issues that they are facing thus leading to anxiety and depression. When the trend is not corrected, many people advanced in age will deal with the effects of relying on devices such as lack of human interaction.
Also, Twenge utilizes humor when coming up with the article and even though she is talking about serious issues which might affect generations to come, she deems it fit to throw humor. Twenge states “in the next decade, we may see more adults who know just the right emoji for a situation, but not the right facial expression” (Twenge). The sentence shows the severity of the case at hand but also allows an individual to see the humor in such a situation.
Twenge sets out to make the case that smartphones have destroyed igen and relies on the research she has conducted over the years. Her findings are accurate since many individuals from this generation do tend to spend more time on their phones than doing anything else. In addition, the constant use of the phone has denied them the opportunity to have human interactions which would help them develop relationships with other people. The number of teenage suicide cases has been on the rise and many are attributed to social media platforms. Twenge utilizes research and other people’s work to come up with a compelling argument and one easily agrees with the points she puts across.
Twenge, Jean M. “Have smartphones destroyed a generation.” The Atlantic 3 (2017).