From The Atlantic: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

By Jean M. Twenge, September 2017 issue


smartphonesOne day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”

Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. … She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “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.” …

Read the full Atlantic article here.


Photo credit: Kevin Dooley via a Creative Commons license.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

What do you think?

1 reply
  1. Sharon Lynne Thompson says:

    …Then again, m:y ‘kids’ are grown men (young ones, but still..) and I’ve felt the gap in my own life now that ‘sleep overs’ are, well, over. The group has spread far and wide following colleges and jobs. I asked one son over lunch recently if he missed any of the old group. If he ever kept in touch. “Mom. It’s not like your generation when you had to drive hours and juggle schedules. We all play the same on-line games and joke around, follow each other on Facebook, Send snaps on texts. You should have heard Ben (his kid brother) using that old English accent to lead his troll troops! We all laughed so hard, I nearly lost my magic.” …lost a generation to smart phones? Guess it depends on which generation you’re checking with.