To many parents, smartphones and iPads are wonderful babysitters — a funny Youtube video playing on a screen can work miles better than any pacifier or nanny. But this convenience has its costs.
Facebook recently published a blog post admitting that "when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward."
Jean Twenge — a psychology professor who penned the article "Have smartphones destroyed a generation?" for The Atlantic magazine — believes that smartphones have created "a lonely, dislocated generation."
Twenge thinks members of what she calls iGen (born between 1995 and 2012) "are on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. … Eighth-graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27 percent. … Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan."
"Kids used to compare themselves with their peer group at school or they'd watch TV and look at Fonzie on 'Happy Days' and say, hey, I'm not as cool as Henry Winkler," said Victor Strasburger, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine expert. "But now it's instantaneous comparison. Just log on to Facebook, log on to Instagram, and it's instantaneous comparison with a peer group or many peer groups. And so many kids feel like they don't match up."