By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Every parent of a teenager within the sound of my voice – and every teenager, for that matter – should go online and read an article on the Atlantic Magazine website entitled: “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”

It’s written by psychology Prof. Jean Twenge, who’s been studying generational differences for more than two decades. Usually, she writes, the characteristics of each generation evolve gradually.

But she noticed some dramatic, abrupt shifts in the behavior of teens starting in 2012 – the moment when smartphone use surpassed 50 percent.

Prof. Twenge calls this generation of teens iGen because surveys show at least 75% of them own smartphones. And she writes: “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.”

Some of her findings: “12th-graders in 2015 were [leaving the house] less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009… only about 56 percent of high-school seniors in 2015 went out on dates; for Boomers and Gen Xers, the number was about 85 percent.” iGen teens have more leisure time than their predecessors, but they are spending that time, says the professor, “on their phone, in their room alone and often distressed.”

More findings: the phones impede direct human communication…“all screen activities are linked to less happiness… the number of teens who feel left out has reached all-time highs.”

And don’t forget the sleep deprivation these things cause.

What’s the bottom line?

Smartphones are killing us.

So, what are we going to do about it?

Share your take with me via email at, or you can reach out on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. They are going to do nothing as Politicians are being paid off by lobbies. So simple anyone that uses a phone and hurts anyone in a car accident will get 20-life in prison. Phones found in the car will be impounded along with your phone history to determine if you were on it while driving. Case closed.

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