Jean Twenge: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic, September 2017
Abrupt shifts …
Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.
Through the WI lens
This week’s article has already attracted considerable attention in the media and for good reason: for the first time, a psychologist has identified in convincing, yet straightforward terms the smart phone and the social media as the culprits that have brought the younger generation to the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. The correlation is strong: the more time teens spend looking at their screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression. And the advice a clear: “Put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and do something—anything—that does not involve a screen.”
More and more scientists are now of the opinion that our digital devices and the platforms behind them are “hijacking our minds”: keeping us hooked to our screen for as long and as frequently as possible. For investors and practitioners, the consequences are twofold: (1) The way in which we relate to our phones and use social media will become increasingly scrutinized in terms of the effects it has on wellbeing – with policy implications at the level of governments and companies; (2) The “detox” industry is currently booming: digital detox retreats, hotels, seminars and so on have a bright future ahead of them.
Five months ago we had already included a session on Digital Detox in the program of our forthcoming ‘Summit of Minds’ in Chamonix. This article came as no surprise to us at WELL Intelligence.
What this article goes on to explain is how positive thinking – described here as ‘thriving’ – can counter the effects that come from the negativity outlined above, from reduced memory to diminished performance. Based on studying people in a series of organisations in different industries, one of the authors has found that people who attain this state are more resilient, experience less burnout, and are more confident in their ability to take control of a situation
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