Are People Under 35 All “iDiots”?
By American Consequences Editorial Staff
How do Millennials and iGen differ from their elders? Consider these dates:
1985 first .com domain name registered
1993 AOL launched its AOL Mail e-mail service
2004 Facebook is founded
2007 Apple’s iPhone is introduced
Even the oldest Millennials don’t remember much from before there was an Internet. They weren’t yet teenagers when e-mail came into widespread use. They were in high school when social media began to be pervasive. They’ve had smartphones nearly their entire adult lives.
The Internet defines the new generations. They don’t hang out in real places, they hang out in cyber spaces. They don’t describe their physical experiences, they “share” them via Instagram and Snapchat. They don’t have late-night bull sessions in dorms and bars, they tweet and go to semi-anonymous forums like Reddit. They don’t date, they “hookup” on Tinder. They don’t even phone each other, they text.
What is all this connectedness with no real in-personal interaction doing to their heads? Their relationships? Are young people today “special snowflakes” who need to get over it… Or is there something more insidious going on? And what does it mean for America?
Here’s a few things we’re reading to try and answer those questions…
Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down?!
Smartphones are causing real damage to our minds and relationships, measurable in seconds shaved off the average attention span, reduced brain power, declines in work-life balance and hours less of family time.
They have impaired our ability to remember. They make it more difficult to daydream and think creatively. They make us more vulnerable to anxiety. They make parents ignore their children. And they are addictive, if not in the clinical sense, then for all intents and purposes.
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones…
The twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives – and making them seriously unhappy.
Facebook Admits That Social Media May Be Bad for You
Scrolling through Facebook can leave people feeling worse afterward, the social network has admitted… Students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than those who talked to friends or posted on the website.
Silicon Valley Reconsiders the iPhone Era It Created
The smartphone has fueled much of Silicon Valley’s soaring profits over the past decade, enriching companies in sectors from social media to games to payments. But over the past year or so, a number of prominent industry figures have voiced concerns about the downsides of the technology’s ubiquity.
Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?
Anxious kids certainly existed before Instagram, but many of the parents the New York Times spoke to worried that their kids’ digital habits – round-the-clock responding to texts, posting to social media, obsessively following the filtered exploits of peers – were partly to blame for their children’s struggles.
To the Times’ surprise, anxious teenagers tended to agree. At Mountain Valley, a reporter listened as a college student went on a philosophical rant about his generation’s relationship to social media. “I don’t think we realize how much it’s affecting our moods and personalities,” he said. “Social media is a tool, but it’s become this thing that we can’t live without but that’s making us crazy.”
The first social media suicide
The suburban train hit her at 4:29 p.m., right on schedule. After the event, people remembered hearing her cry out, but that may just have been retrospective fancy. Her phone landed lens-down, and showed only black, though the microphone was still recording. Was she dead? Was it a hoax? Minutes went by, and they tried to work out the situation from the murmurs in the background.
Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’
“We are in uncharted territory” when it comes to Tinder et al., says Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.
“There have been two major transitions” in heterosexual mating “in the last four million years,” he says. “The first was around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, in the agricultural revolution, when we became less migratory and more settled,” leading to the establishment of marriage as a cultural contract. “And the second major transition is with the rise of the Internet.”
Live, For the Moment
The pressure is on for extreme athletes to be constantly producing content, and it’s getting some of them killed…
“Everywhereness” is a term coined by the writer Laurence Scott. It refers to the fact that in a networked world, our bodies no longer represent the limit of where we are. Our phones can transport us elsewhere, just as other people can transport themselves to where we are. This is the kind of dynamic that purveyors of nostalgia like Jonathan Franzen would say makes us “intolerably shallow,” but it represents a more concrete concern for professors teaching their students how to avoid avalanches.
‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
It is revealing that many of these younger technologists are weaning themselves off their own products, sending their children to elite Silicon Valley schools where iPhones, iPads and even laptops are banned. They appear to be abiding by a Biggie Smalls lyric from their own youth about the perils of dealing crack cocaine: never get high on your own supply.