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Tech impedes youth’s social growth.

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TLDR:

– Author Jean Twenge argues that children today are growing up more slowly than previous generations due to the influence of technology.

– Twenge’s analysis suggests that the impact of technology has made each generation more individualistic and has slowed their life trajectories.

In her book “Generations,” Jean Twenge examines the impact of technology on the social development of young people. Twenge argues that children today are growing up more slowly than previous generations, and it is largely due to the influence of technology throughout their childhood and adolescence. Twenge’s analysis is based on data from 39 million people spanning a century, revealing a pattern of each generation being more individualistic and having a slower life trajectory than the previous generation.

One of the key indicators of increasing individualism is the decrease in the size of social networks among each generation. Twenge notes that people today have fewer close friends on average compared to those from 30 or 50 years ago. This doesn’t imply a decrease in the value of friendship, but rather a result of technology allowing individuals more freedom and control over their lives, leading to less time spent in shared activities.

The slower life trajectory of each generation is evident in factors such as young people living longer with their parents, starting work at an older age, and delaying marriage and having children. For example, the latest generation, Gen Z, tends to drive less, consume less alcohol, and have less sexual activity than earlier generations did at the same age.

The impact of technology on social development can also be seen in the rising rates of depression, anxiety, and stress among teenagers today. Twenge suggests that excessive use of electronic devices, particularly smartphones and social media, contributes to poor mental health outcomes. Spending long hours on digital screens during formative years reduces the time young people spend interacting with others in real-life situations, hindering their ability to develop important social skills and navigate various obstacles.

Twenge acknowledges that parents’ desire to provide a safe and happy childhood experience is understandable, especially in a prosperous and technologically advanced society. However, she argues that learning responsibility is a crucial need for children’s growth and development. Without essential responsibilities, children have fewer opportunities to learn independence and understand the consequences of their actions.

Overall, Twenge’s analysis sheds light on the influence of technology on young people’s social development, highlighting the importance of balancing technology use with real-life experiences and responsibilities.

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