Phones and Depression

As promised, this will be my last technology themed blog to start the year.  (I do reserve the right to return to my soapbox at a later date.)  Since the start of my crusade, several of you have shared a recent The Atlantic article, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”  The piece, by Jean Twenge, is an abridged version of her upcoming book, iGen, Why Today’s Super-connected Kids are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.”

If you do not have time to read the article, please take time to read the excerpts below.

“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 results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.”

“Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media.”

“Children who use a media device right before bed are more likely to sleep less than they should, more likely to sleep poorly, and more than twice as likely to be sleepy during the day.

“Girls have also borne the brunt of the rise in depressive symptoms among today’s teens. Boys’ depressive symptoms increased by 21 percent from 2012 to 2015, while girls’ increased by 50 percent—more than twice as much. 


there are benefits to be gained even if all we instill in our children is the importance of moderation.”

I’m going to move to a new topic next week, but I must ask one more time.

When your child goes to bed, the cell phone and other devices must go to bed (in a separate room.) 

Set some device free times: dinner, car rides, or Saturday mornings. 

Talk to your child frequently about your expectations.

Monitor and occasionally check your child’s digital footprint.  (Check out the full list of available software and apps or start now. You can monitor, set usage times, and filter content.)


As a member of the St. Paul’s community, I pledge to be honest, to respect others, to take responsibility for my actions and words, to be kind and inclusive, and to help others do the same.
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