iGen

Jean M Twenge

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The biggest takeaway I got from this is that iGen’ers are growing up slower in almost every way. With increased screen time and smartphone use playing a large role, iGen’ers are getting driver’s licenses later, drinking alcohol later, having sex later, are more tolerant towards minorities, are more safe, and are much more insecure. . If you spend a decent amount of time on smartphones (IE everyone) this is a perfect meta-analysis of sorts of the early research on smartphone use.

Notes

“In short, iGen teens are less likely to take part in every single face-to-face social activity measured across four data sets of three different age groups.” This includes everything from activities with no real aim like cruising in a car to activities with a goal like going to a movie with friends.

“8th graders who spend 10+ hours on social media are 56% more likely to be unhappy.” She also shows a graph that Sports/Exercise, Religious Services, Print Media and In-person Social Interaction all increase happiness (in that order) and Internet, Social Networking Website and Texting all decreased happiness in the same age group.

Suicide rates are soaring. “46% more teens killed themselves in 2015 than in 2007.” “In 2011, teen suicide was rate was higher than the homicide rate, first time in 24 years”

Individualism was a trend in Millennials that is continuing and growing in iGens.

Loneliness and dissatisfaction are increasing. 12th graders who were satisfied with their life plummeted from~73% in 2012 to ~63% in 2015. In the same manner, the number of people who felt left out has drastically grown from 2009 to 2015, from ~24% of 8th, 10th and 12th graders to ~33%. Similar results with “Can’t do anything right,” “My life is not useful,” and “Do not enjoy life.” This is bad in both genders, but worse in females.

A theory: (1) more screen time has led directly to more unhappiness and depression, (2) more screen time has led to less in-person social interactions, which then led to unhappiness and depression, (3) more screen time has led to less print media use, leading to unhappiness and depression.

Another theory: they are unprepared for life due to their lack of independence. Students were asked if parents “supervised my every move,” “stepped in to solve problems for me,” and “didn’t let me figure things out independently.” Those who reported that their parents did these things (called “Helicopter Parents”) had lower psychological well-being scores and also were more likely to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Either way, increased screen time and reduced independence has not been good for the mental health of teens.

Time spent on homework, outside activities (sports, clubs, etc) and TV have remained constant. Print media and sleep have decreased. Screen time on phones has increased a ton.

Religion: half of 13-to-17-year-olds want to pursue a science-related career, yet only 1% of youth pastors say they have addressed any subject related to science in the last year. Religion has to adapt to include science if it wants to survive.

According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, 56% of Americans believe that the decline in religion is a bad thing, while only 12% believe it’s a good thing.

Rape has been reduced by over 50% since 1997 (9.2 per 1,000 in 1997 to 4.4 per 1,000 in 2013).

Safety has increased a ton. Risk taking has also plummeted since ~2008.

iGens increasingly believe that they need safe spaces. They want to be safe from everything, including any idea that disagrees with their own.

School’s focuses have shifted. It is now on student’s emotional state rather than on intellectual development, sacrificing challenging discussions for the possibility that a student might feel upset.

“In their always online lives, words can reach out and do damage even when you’re alone.”

iGen’ers are more likely to report things to authorities rather than confronting them themselves.

“In a recent poll, 70% of adults had said they thought the world wasn’t as safe as before, despite all evidence pointing the other way. We protect students from danger, real and imaginary, and are then surprised when they go to college and create safe spaces designed to repel the real world”

“We have stopped looking at life and its deeper meaning and have instead immersed ourselves in a world where the big stuff people think about is how many likes they get on an Instagram post”

iGen’ers are much more focused on practicality, job security, and less likely to be entrepreneurial. This is very different from Millennials. A lot of this is driven by growing up during the Recession and also always having large sums of student loans.

3.6% of households headed by someone under 30 owned some part of a private company in 2013, down from 10.6% in 1989.

In 2016, 25% of non-college-educated men in their twenties hadn’t worked in the last 12 months.

The number of sexual partners has been decreasing, especially for men.

“Why risk sexually transmitted diseases, relationship arguments or having to meet up with someone when you can watch porn in the privacy of your own bedroom?”

iGen’ers are uncertain about relationships and are more likely to get married later. They cite not wanting to get hurt and explore their twenties while having fun as their main reasons.

“Better to loved and lost/then never to have loved at all” has become “its better not to have loved, because what if you lose it?”

Generational shift that could explain safe spaces: iGen’ers witnessed the harm of hateful speech but not the harm of censorship.

iGen’ers trend libertarian in their views: very individualistic.

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