Q: What is iGen?
Answer: iGen is a generation born after 1995 and is the first generation to spend its entire adolescence in the era of smartphones. They spend less time on non-screen activities such as reading social media and games, reading books, sleeping, chatting face-to-face with friends, and more time online.
The children are growing more slowly. It is unlikely that you will have a driver's license until the age of 18, work in paid work, go out on a date, drink alcohol, or lose a parent without a parent.
So iGen is probably the safest generation in history. They like to think they are safe.
But they also have the feeling that they are missing something. They always know that living on the phone is probably not the best way. They do not like it when they talk to friends and friends are on the phone.
Many of them have a perception of the shortcomings of that type of life.
Q: I have studied the behavior and health of millions of young people. What did you observe?
A: By 2011 and 2012 I began to see sudden changes in teenagers who felt lonely or lost to their teenagers, could not do anything, their life was not useful, and the typical signs of depression. .
Depressive symptoms increased by 60% in just five years, and the rate of self-injury increased by a factor of two or three in girls. Teenage suicide has doubled in a few years.
When smart phones became popular, mental health problems appeared. The change in the way teenagers spend their time is fundamental to mental health. We know from decades of research that taking enough sleep and meeting friends in person is a great mental health regimen and not just staring at the screen for several hours a day.
Q: What advice would you give your parents?
A: Many things that rely on happiness and mental health are under our control. We will not be able to change the genes we are born with, and we will not loose poverty overnight. But we can control how we spend our free time and help our children do the same.
The study points out that digital media usage is limited to less than two hours a day. It seems to be a good place for mental health and happiness.
Use social media to reach out to your friends, plan, watch a little video, and watch for 13-1 year olds for 2 hours. Then you can get all the benefits of social media and this technology.
If your child feels they need a phone call, they can get a "stupid" phone call from the Internet and smartphone without any temptation, just like going to school.
Jean Twenge is an author with "iGen" and "Generation Me".