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Slashdot Asks: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? (theatlantic.com) 330

Teens today are more likely to be lonely, depressed and immature than any previous generation, according to analysis published in The Atlantic. According to the professor of psychology who did the analysis, who also has been researching generational differences for 25 years, the culprit is the smartphone. From the article: The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of "screen time." But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers' lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone. What do you folks think?
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Slashdot Asks: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

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  • by qeveren ( 318805 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:03PM (#54935743)

    The theme repeats. :)

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:13PM (#54935853)

      The important question is not "What do folks think?" but "What does the data say?". In this case, the data appears to say nothing. TFA is just conjecture, opinion, and a few correlations, which as we all know, are not the same as causation [xkcd.com].

      Maybe, buried deep behind an obscure link, there is some actual evidence that the world really is going to hell because of corruption of the youth. If so, I would appreciate someone pointing it out.

      • Has skating on the sidewalk increased or decreased in the past ten years? There's your answer.

        • Is that good or bad? Because when it was happening it was considered bad.

          • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

            Is that good or bad? Because when it was happening it was considered bad.

            The short answer is yes and the long answer is no.

            • Yes, if you mean the short-term effect that every successful new technology is seductive because of being successful. The teenagers of old joyrode in their Model As and talked for hours on Mom and Dad's big black wall phones. Then in the long run we integrate the new technology into culture, and life goes on as before.

              • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @06:43PM (#54936919) Homepage Journal

                Yes, if you mean the short-term effect that every successful new technology is seductive because of being successful. The teenagers of old joyrode in their Model As and talked for hours on Mom and Dad's big black wall phones. Then in the long run we integrate the new technology into culture, and life goes on as before.

                Yeah but I see one major difference...those previous examples, seemed to encourage more interaction with kids....in the real world, personal interactions. Even that old black phone, was mostly to lead to an in person meeting. The cars and all...well, dates, meeting up with friends, cruising town with friends to see and be seen, etc.

                The cell phone/tablet/social media...while it does seem to increase interaction online, it does seem to get in the way often, of in-person interaction, hanging to with friends, and learning true social skills which ARE important in:

                1. Getting laid

                2. Getting a job

                3. Succeeding in job and other social circles.

                I know..I know, I'm talking about this in the worst possible forum (/.)....but really these intra-personal and meatspace social skills are important, and it seems many of the last generation or two, just are lacking in these and much of it has to do with staring zombie like into a screen 25/7.

                I mean, its pretty bad to see a couple of kids, presumably on a date...and rather than talking and getting to know each other..they're texting or typing on FB/Twitter/Snap.....

                • The infatuation with starting at the small screen all the time is just that - an infatuation with something that is new. My generation started off by spending hours indoors staring at the prior small screen of television. Then we learned to pick out a few programs we liked and then spent the rest of our time doing other things. Smartphones will be integrated into culture in the same way as the obsession with social media tapers off and gets replaced with newer shinies.

                  • "The most important thing we've learned,
                    So far as children are concerned,
                    Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
                    Them near your television set-
                    Or better still, just don't install
                    The idiotic thing at all.
                    In almost every house we've been,
                    We've watched them gaping at the screen.
                    They loll and slop and lounge about,
                    And stare until their eyes pop out.
                    (Last week in someone's place we saw
                    A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
                    They sit and stare and stare and sit
                    Until they're hypnotised by it,
                    Until they're abs
                  • by dryeo ( 100693 )

                    When we used to spend too much time staring at the TV (the only one in the house usually), the parents would kick us outside, where all the other kids, whose parents had kicked them outside were. We'd spend hours outside, with perhaps a radio, playing with each other. We did not take the TV outside with us and continue to stare at it. Occasionally when alone, I'd have the radio on for background.
                    Now, there are a couple of problems, kids are discouraged from spending too much time outside, and when outside,

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:32PM (#54936025)

        I'm all for having real data and robust analysis, but it doesn't take a science paper to tell me not to experiment with walking off a cliff or holding my hand in a fire. It also doesn't take a science paper to tell me that it's not a healthy situation when a generation of young people are so obsessed with their phones that they don't get proper sleep, can't concentrate on anything important, lack even a basic level of fitness, and would rather spend a huge proportion of their lives communicating with their "friends" in short messages punctuated by emoticons than doing anything more constructive.

        • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:49PM (#54936171)

          it doesn't take a science paper to tell me ...

          If any of the things you insist are "obvious" were actually true, then it would be easy to support them with actual data ... yet you can't.

          The state with worst obesity and lowest academic test scores is Mississippi. The state with the lowest ownership of smartphones is ... Mississippi. Many of the ills you describe are not even correlated with smartphone use.

          • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @06:29PM (#54936849)

            If any of the things you insist are "obvious" were actually true, then it would be easy to support them with actual data ... yet you can't.

            Research [familyhealthconcerns.com] has suggested [bbc.co.uk] a causal link [npr.org] for years [telegraph.co.uk].

      • by slick7 ( 1703596 )
        "What does the data say?" As Mr. Clemens would say, "There are lies, damned lies and statistics."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I think the take-away is not so much that smartphones are making a generation miserable, but rather that for whatever the reason, we're seeing radical changes in mental health and other aspects of development that we should at least be concerned with. If everything turns out fine, and the next generation is smarter, wiser and healthier than we, then great. But whenever there is rapid change, we should at least be watching so that we can help the next generation should they need it.

        (Yet, other commenters a

    • You forgot tablets. No, not ones with an ARM and a touchscreen. Ones written in cuneiform and baked in clay.

      Because that's the oldest recorded repeat of this complaint. I do bet, though, that grandpa Uuk wasn't happy about that new-fangled "fire" thingy, either.

      • Ones written in cuneiform and baked in clay. Because that's the oldest recorded repeat of this complaint.

        Do you have a citation of that? Because that's pretty cool.

    • Kids will be kids.
      Not listening to the wise advice from their adults. Full of hormones where they are wanting to find a mate, with society saying it is good to wait, sit down study, but every instinct in your body is saying now.

      Or younger kids, who are full of energy with growing bodies that wants to be tested and pushed, being locked indoors, because it is dangerous out there because some random guy is just out there ready to kidnap kids. Or just locked in a classroom desk without and being punished for a

    • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:17PM (#54936401)

      No, it doesn't.
      Your approach is simplistic borderlining retarded, and I don't try to be offensive (but I might succeed, that's entirely your opinion).
      There's a gazillion differences between past "disruptive" inventions and smartphones.

      1. Past inventions were not close to you everywhere. Books arguably could have been, but they were never considered disruptive.
      2. Past inventions were very far from having the level of interactivity smartphones have.
      3. Past inventions were not actively begging for your attention (aka notifications).
      4. Past inventions wouldn't actively punish you if you would stop interacting with them, and this is a BIG issue with smartphones, or rather the games residing on them. Most games do punish you if you don't play them, and that's plain evil. "Play every day or you'd lose this bonus", "Your villagers miss you", "Planet X will soon start a rebellion because you haven't logged in today", etc.
      5. Past inventions weren't all-in-one replacements for a multitude of activities. You couldn't interact with your neighbor Jack through TV, radio or a book. Now you can, through your smartphone.

      There you go, some of the many reasons that make smartphones a lot more dangerous to people's development than past inventions.

      • by jodido ( 1052890 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:57PM (#54936659)
        Leaving the rest aside, it's not historically accurate to say books were never considered disruptive. (Relatively) widespread literacy was one of the causes of the split in the Christian church.
      • Look i really hate smart phones, don't have one, etc.. but this is what every generation says. they said it about video games in the 80s too.

        Smartphones are wreaking havoc with society, and we are getting close to a panopticon as depitcted in the recent movie "the circle", but i think they are equally damaging to kids as well as adults.

        if anything, i can give the kids a break. They don't know any better. All the adult and elderly smart phone zombies are the ones i really hate, because they know how evil th

        • Look i really hate smart phones, don't have one, etc.. but this is what every generation says. they said it about video games in the 80s too.

          Yeah but the '80 games were not in your pocket all the time, sending you notifications every 5 minutes.

      • When novels became popular and widely available in the 1800s, they were absolutely considered disruptive wastes of time.

        Each of these things are different; it's not helpful to list the trivial differences. Smart phones are different than video games were different than TV is different than radio is different than comics were different than novels...

        The author of TFA states that psychological trends in teens today haven't been seen since just after the Great Depression. She then notes that teens today came o

        • by Evtim ( 1022085 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @01:41AM (#54938477)

          Based on what I read from Bertrand Russel, the notion that mass book market is somehow disruptive is a propaganda of the ruling class. The one thing the rich did not want to happen is for the poor to have free time and access to information. Russel recalls a party where some " lady" was complaining that those pesky coal miners want reduction of their working day. " What would they do with the free time? They don't need free time" she exclaimed. At the same (ha-ha) time Russel argues in his essay "Praise for idleness" that the most precious resource is free time and it is this above all else that is the boon of being born rich - you are a master of your time and can, for instance read books.

          So you see, literacy and books are not evil, if they are accessible only to the lords :)

      • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Friday August 04, 2017 @01:11AM (#54938431)

        1. Past inventions were not close to you everywhere. Books arguably could have been, but they were never considered disruptive.

        Apparently, you'd be surprised at what was once considered disruptive:

        The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?

  • huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <capsplendidNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:04PM (#54935757) Homepage Journal
    Yawn. Used to be videogames. Before that it was TV. Before that it was miscegenation. There's always some old crank with too much time on his hands willing to grab onto whatever is shiny and proclaim it as evil.
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:26PM (#54935961)

      There's always some old crank with too much time on his hands

      Except in this case the "researcher" is SELLING BOOKS [amazon.com], and actually profiting from her viewpoint. But I am sure her high integrity keeps the profit motive from interfering with her objectivity.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      You left out Rock and Roll, and music (1920s, Mozart, and other times it's been raised). Urbanification was also complained about when the kids left the moisture farm to go to the Academy, and again in the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s, and even today, depending on where you are.

      The list of complaints is long. Perhaps someone should do a paper on how old people yell "get off my lawn" and the destruction of a generation from old person bitterness.
    • Re:huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:23PM (#54936449)

      My gut instinct was something like that but specifically, think of Everquest 17 odd years ago. Surely Everquest and other MMO's zombified a good number of teenage/20 something year old males. It's a pretty common refrain, complaining about time lost to social activities in highschool and college.

      But realistically, video games and the like only had that deleterious (subjective) effect on a relatively small portion of the population (middle class males between 15 and 30).. but smart phones and the like, well just about everyone has them.

      Do they hinder social development ? probably. will society adjust? sure.

    • Yawn. Used to be videogames. Before that it was TV. Before that it was miscegenation. There's always some old crank with too much time on his hands willing to grab onto whatever is shiny and proclaim it as evil.

      If the title was a generation addicted to hunting old people with machetes would the above response be any more or less applicable?

    • Re:huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SCVonSteroids ( 2816091 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @07:59PM (#54937283)

      I think the issue is that the smartphone has accentuated the problem that TV was starting to cause.
      It's easy as a child to mindlessly watch TV if nobody tells you not to. Even easier with smartphones because you can take them with you.

      If you have nothing guiding you, and you don't have much ambition as a result, this loop is an easy one to get trapped in, and you end up wasting your life away like so many people do.

    • The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

      -Socrates

      If men learn this [writing], it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. ...and it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows.

      -Plato

  • Kids these Days! (Score:5, Informative)

    by nealric ( 3647765 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:05PM (#54935771)

    People have complaining about the youth having something wrong with them since before the trial of Socrates. There's always something to blame, be it a philosopher, books, video games, or smartphones. People will talk down about a generation until that generation gets old enough to have power in society. Then, they will in turn talk down to next generation. Circle of life I suppose.

    • Re:Kids these Days! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:08PM (#54935811) Homepage Journal

      I talk down previous generations. The way I see it, all ethics and morality went up in a cloud of pot smoke in the 1960s and hasn't been seen since.

    • Re:Kids these Days! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MikeMo ( 521697 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:21PM (#54935927)
      While this is true, this does not prove that there is nothing wrong now and never will be.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        If anything is wrong now, and if anything has destroyed a generation, it's baby boomers. They screwed the millennials pretty hard.

    • since every previous generation is full of assholes trying to screw the next one and make them work harder for less. Every now and then a generation notices this and pushes back. So the think tanks (used to be Philosophers & preachers) fire up and beat the little brats back into place.

      The Millennials grew up during the biggest economic crash since the Great Depression. Hell if our Government had sat on it's thumbs like they did in the 30s it would have been a second Great Depression. Unlike folks wh
    • People have complaining about the youth having something wrong with them since before the trial of Socrates. There's always something to blame, be it a philosopher, books, video games, or smartphones.

      I have been complaining about people constructing statements which cannot be falsified today as I have in previous lives since the middle ages.

    • People have complaining about the youth having something wrong with them since before the trial of Socrates.

      In fairness, they were correct. The youth around that time were demonstrably worse than their elders.

  • by thechemic ( 1329333 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:06PM (#54935791)

    My kids were introduced to cell phones and tablets and a young age, and I noticed withing a few months that they started to be less confident with social interactions than they should be for their age. For example, slight fear to talk to the lady at the drive-through for a cheeseburger.

    As soon as I noticed the deficiency, I made immediate changes to their phone/tablet time and forced them into social interactions that would be suitable for their age. The changes helped significantly. As time passed, and phones/tablets became more prevalent, it became clear to me which parents had devoted any attention to how the devices were impacting their children.

    • You can interact with people also on a phone/tablet/computer, you know. Maybe your definition of "social interaction that would be suitable for their age" is biased.
      • It certainly is biased. I suppose from that perspective, all that I did was give my children the knowledge and ability to interact in a way that would be considered normal by previous generations. I'm fine with that.
      • If his definition of "social interaction that would be suitable for their age" lead to his kids being able to actually interact socially, I'd say you're wrong.
      • Assuming that his children are human, they need to interact socially in human ways to generate human responses and stimulations. To pretend that we are no longer biologically defined as social creatures with biologically defined social needs is peculiar.

    • Maybe they were afraid of what regularly eating cheesburgers would do to their prospects for social interaction after puberty?
    • I noticed withing a few months that they started to be less confident with social interactions than they should be for their age

      You realize it's incredibly common for kids to go through periods of being "outgoing" and "shy", right?

      Young kid thinks they're the center of the universe. Will talk to anyone.

      Gets a little older and starts to learn what empathy is and that other people have opinions. Talks to people less as they try to figure out how to do it "right".

      Figures it out better, talks more.

      Becomes a teenager, only speaks through sighs and rolling eyes.

      Becomes a 20-something, believes they are awesome and going to change the wo

    • My nephew (3yo) got my first phone recently. He uses Google Music, the Clock, Radio, Camera, and Recorder. Everything else is locked out.

  • No... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:08PM (#54935803)
    Better question: Will any generation not insist their children are going to inevitable ruin for the technology they adopt?

    Happens every generation [mentalfloss.com]

    Modern phones objectively allow folks to do things on the go, that they haven't ever been able to do before. Folks are still learning what NOT to do, but for the most part, they're safe, and much less dangerous than other similar disruptive technologies.

    Flamebait article.

    Ryan Fenton
    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      No, there will always be trolls and doomsayers. The rest of us should tell them to fuck off with their negative attitude.

    • by Myrdos ( 5031049 )

      Will any generation not insist their children are going to inevitable ruin for the technology they adopt?

      One of the key complaints about global warming: scientists were wrong about climate in the past, so therefore they're wrong now.

      for the most part, they're safe, and much less dangerous than other similar disruptive technologies.

      He seems to have some evidence to back him up? Here's a summary of his points:

      "12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009."

      "But

      • To me, all this says NOT that we should take away the cell phones, but that we should be offering these kids more opportunities like their parents had for meaningful contact with others. The adults are working more, earning less, and making do with cheaper entertainment overall - so they have less time and resources to offer anything to their kids.

        That's why the kids in statistical terms will fall back on facebook and videos to fill time, and see little meaning in driving places - there's relatively little

      • "Nearly all Boomer high-school students had their driver’s license by the spring of their senior year; more than one in four teens today still lack one at the end of high school."... "In conversation after conversation, teens described getting their license as something to be nagged into by their parents—a notion that would have been unthinkable to previous generations."

        Agreed. But why?

        When I was a kid, I got my driver's license so that I could go places more conveniently than on my bike. I could go hang out with my friends, etc., and somewhat keep my own schedule rather than syncing it around when Mom or Dad could come pick me up. I still had to be home by certain hours, based upon my parents' requirements (11:30PM, usually).

        Now? Heck, California won't let a 16 year-old with a driver's license drive a car with anyone else unless there is an adult also in the car. If

    • Better question: Will any generation not insist their children are going to inevitable ruin for the technology they adopt?

      Why is this a better question? What's the point of perusing non-falsifiable statements? Wouldn't it be better to ignore the "happens to every generation" noise and stick to merit based arguments for or against a position.

      It may be easy to assert I see pattern x therefore I'll just assume it always holds... but if your going to do that at least admit that's what your doing.

      Non-falsifiable statements such as "happens to every generation" convey no useful information.

      Modern phones objectively allow folks to do things on the go, that they haven't ever been able to do before. Folks are still learning what NOT to do, but for the most part, they're safe, and much less dangerous than other similar disruptive technologies.

      What information presented in the article

  • ... it was rock & roll.

  • Facebook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:17PM (#54935871)

    Facebook opened up to everyone around the time the iPhone came out, and increased Facebook/social media usage has been correlated with loneliness and depression. Many people use their smartphone to access social media. It might be that social media usage doesn't cause loneliness and depression, and it's only a correlation, but only a correlation was found between these and smartphone usage as well.

  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:23PM (#54935943)
    I'm old enough to know the before/after here -

    Before the smartphone I'd go out to dinner with family and friends and eventually the conversation would inevitably die and ... and we'd come up with smalltalk and jokes to pick things up and get the conversation moving again which brings out people's personalities and depth

    Now? We check our smartphones.

    The problem is nobody learns the basic smalltalk skills anymore and the people you're with are "real" and not as interesting and entertaining as the 50 people in your facebook friends list who can always keep you going. It breaks down "social structure" in lieu of a social artifice in the "virtual" world.
    I'm not immune to this and have done it myself but I would've easily done the same thing growing up as a teen and probably never learned how to hold a conversation.
    • I just leave my cell phone off when I go to dinner with friends.
    • I don't think this characterization is entirely fair sometimes smartphones are used to find some forgotten fact or settle some nit (from the small talk) leading to more conversation.... just depends on the people having the conversation.
    • My boy loves playing games on tablets. I was a gamer growing up... different video games but, I definitely could spend too much time on some games, so I keep a close eye on my kid. Sometimes when his friends come over, they all sit around a couple of tablets and play and mostly never shut up either.

      Other times, I chase them outside and tell them "no phones, tablets, tvs, or computers for a while... go exercise!". They then sit on the swingset and chat for 1 to 2 hours without stopping in most cases.

      Conclus

    • The problem is nobody learns the basic smalltalk skills anymore and the people you're with are "real" and not as interesting and entertaining as the 50 people in your facebook friends list who can always keep you going.

      Facebook has only been around for a decade or so - so the only people that could not have learned smalltalk are those under their early 20's or so. People older than that should have already learned.

      Before the smartphone I'd go out to dinner with family and friends and eventually the

    • The problem is nobody learns the basic smalltalk skills anymore

      Good. It should die. I'm generally against people using smartphones at social engagements, but "smalltalk" is another way of saying "attempt to bore someone to the point they wish they were alone with the internet".

      Maybe the reality is people aren't actually as interested in crappy boring stories as others thought, and those who formerly made other's suffer through smalltalk and now finding that their victims have found a way of ignoring.

      If you're unable to keep someone's attention away from their phone, th

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:30PM (#54936005)

    I think it's the rapid adoption that's the problem, not the smartphone itself.

    If in some alternate timeline smartphones had taken 20 years to become affordable enough for mass adoption, we probably would have merged them into our lives differently and more thoughtfully, better avoiding or adapting to some of the negatives associated with them.

    But instead, they were adopted by nearly everyone simultaneously, along with a land-rush of novel social applications, and we're not necessarily done sorting out what are good uses and not so good uses, in addition to re-structuring our social habits to align with the capabilities of a smartphone.

    It's kind of like liquor and indigenous populations that have never been exposed to it. Europeans and other alcohol-informed cultures had millennia to adapt to alcohol consumption, and for the most part have -- structuring social rituals and institutions to more or less train people on how to handle alcohol. Indigenous populations had none of these things and then their culture adopted alcohol all at once, and it was disastrous for them, as you might expect any addictive and toxic drug given to an uninformed population might be.

  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:31PM (#54936017) Journal

    The mistake always made by those making this argument is assuming an unchanging world. My observation is that the under 30 folks are operating under completely different rules than what I grew up with. Interestingly, I am as locked out of their world as they are from mine. There are many millenial companies that basically won't hire folks over 30.

    They may be less confident in in-person social interactions, but if that is not what dominates their world when they get to power (20-30 years from now when they are in their 50s and 60s), then it won't matter. And if that is not their skill, then it WILL NOT be what dominates their world. The "world" is adjusted by each generation to fit their skills and mindset when they take over the reigns. Those who do not have the strong electronic communications skills will be the ones kicked to the curb.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:34PM (#54936043)
    Smartphones just distracted one a bit.
  • by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:34PM (#54936045)

    Major social changes can come from technological advance.

    Some changes are more sweeping than others. E.g., the internet was a bigger improvement over the phone compared to the phone vs telegraph.

    Even then, the computer was never inherently social because it could not be involved in most social activities. Now, computers, messaging, and the internet are pervasive in every aspect of our lives.

    This represents a significant change, and moreover, a change that has no clear analog.

    For the generation that was caught on the cusp of this change, this is hugely disruptive. The early socialization by parents, schools, etc is less relevant. There are new risks and rewards out there, and the new generation doesn't have good guidelines on how to handle them---especially if their parents are technologically inept.

    In the absence of established social customs, there will be friction regarding appropriate use of the technology.

    While I believe that the headline "destroyed a generation" is sensational nonsense, I can readily accept that the mobile revolution made life more complicated for some people. It was always tough heading into the adult years, and it can only be harder when you and your cohort have no models for a significant piece of your social life.

  • It's smartphones plus the Internet plus so-called 'social media'. All of these things, jointly, were supposed to usher in a new 'age of information', and 'bring people together' and 'connect people'. Instead what we've got is MIS-information, DIS-information, fantasies disconnected from reality, and outright lies; 'social media' gives people more reasons to stay apart than it 'brings them together', plus we now have to differentiate between 'actual' Friends, and 'internet' friends (whom you will never meet,
  • They are depressed because they see the world they're meant to inherit giving them no meaningful opportunities.

    They are lonely because depressed people have difficulty connecting with others and generally make bad company anyway.

    They are immature because they are deprived of socialization in their formative years.

    To attempt to remedy all of this, they turn to smartphones, because we've told them that this is what communication is for.
  • Cue the usual ... "every generation says that!" ... in other words, don't question my vices :)

    I'm very glad that my kids don't have Internet connected pocket computers. For all sorts of reasons.

    (And screen time was a concern before smartphones and tablets. And it should remain a concern. )

  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:48PM (#54936151) Homepage Journal

    The parents spend 8 hours of a workday in front of desktop computers, and then complain when their kids spend more than 2 hours with a tablet. I'm not sure if all of that adult work is more important, but perhaps there's more to screen time than a single number.

    I'm pretty sensitive to interruptions, so something like Facebook in my pocket would totally ruin me. This IMHO is what separates today's tech from the video games and movies of past -- constant presence and lack of focus. When I do stuff on a computer, I like to focus on it, and when I go out I'll leave it home. (Some of my best programming takes place while walking.) In "social" media and "smart"phones, I see a culture of interruptions and multitasking, neither of which are good for getting anything important or interesting done.

  • Hey look, its a Slashvertisement for a generation-baiting article from an author that makes money selling books about generation-baiting.

  • no

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @04:56PM (#54936219)

    Their real name is portable TELESCREENS; the way Oceania monitors and controls the population using a software tool called FACEBOOK. And this sort of thing was predicted decades [technovelgy.com] in advance.

  • by TheNarrator ( 200498 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:00PM (#54936263)

    The reason kids like spending all this time with their smartphone is the cost is negligible. Think about all the ways kids used to spend money:

    1. Eating out at the mall + cafes + Denny's
    2. Driving Around
    3. Telephone Calls, back when they used to cost something.
    4. Going to amusement parks.
    5. Outdoor activities that use expensive sports equipment.
    6. Going to movies.
    7. Alcohol

    Now kids just stay home and mess around on the smartphone and computer and spend almost no money at all. I recently got Grand Theft Auto IV on my phone and probably spent 60 hours on it over a few months for a cost of $2.99! As long as they're getting some regular exercise and eating healthy, studying, etc. it's not such a big deal, IMHO. I do think some memetic immunization might help, like reading about "skinner boxes" and such used in online gaming and the basics of social psychology.

    • The reason kids like spending all this time with their smartphone is the cost is negligible. Think about all the ways kids used to spend money:

      1. Eating out at the mall + cafes + Denny's
      2. Driving Around

      Negligible? Smartphones cost $700, and for a while there, that money was being spent every two years. It was concealed in an outrageously huge phone bill, but it was being paid. The phone bill with data plan runs $700/year. The yearly average for most of the past decade is $1050/year on phone + plan. Admittedly with inflation that doesn't buy you as much Denny's/gasoline/amusement park tickets/movie tickets as it used to, but it still buys a helluva lot of those things.

      Add to that the lack of jobs. Th

  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:00PM (#54936265) Journal
    Drug, alcohol, tobacco (including vape) use and teen pregnancy are at all time lows. What's wrong again?
  • I'm not so sure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:09PM (#54936327)
    I know everyone is making themselves feel good by pointing out the obvious that every generation thinks their descendants will be the ruin of the world. I've heard plenty of it.

    But I'm not so sure they aren't at least a little right about smartphones and smart devices. And the reason I think this is because it doesn't just affect the "new generation". I've seen entire families, from eldest to youngest, all glued to their screens at dinner, outside, everywhere. Times when you would be interacting, thinking to yourself, using your mind, etc. It allows you to be force fed stimulation, like a foie gras of the mind. It is turning us into "push" consumers, allowing material, content, and even values and principles to be pushed on us, willingly. It seems every new invention of technology ups the ante on this just a little bit more.

    The stimulation is addicting. Your mind gets accustomed to a certain level. And once it drops below that, you reach for your phone. You know there's a silly meme, a new snapchat, and goofy video, a mindless game, a funny video, all just waiting to amuse you.

    Now days, if you are sitting alone somewhere in quiet contemplation and you AREN'T swiping away at your cell phone, you look like the one out of place. Balk all you want, but I'm not sure this a good thing this time, folks...
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:11PM (#54936365) Journal

    I think this is stu... wait, I got a Facebook alert. Back in a sec.

  • by LordZardoz ( 155141 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @05:20PM (#54936427)

    Complaining about too much screen time misses the point.

    The problem has never been 'too much video games' or 'too much facebook'. The problem is 'Not enough meaningful activities that improve ones quality of life". As long as any given individual is doing something that is personally fulfilling, and as long as they put enough time and effort into those things, it really does not matter how they use the rest of their time.

    But if a random person has few friends, no hobbies, and lacks the means and opportunity to find and pursue something of interest to them, they are going to be depressed and isolated.

    END COMMUNICATION

  • If you want them off the phone, you'll have to let them hang out somewhere away from their parents so they feel like they can be themselves. That used to be the mall, but these days malls kick the teens out if not accompanied by parents. Parks and other recreational areas like to close at the first hint of sunset.

  • Poor/disinterested parenting and lack of discipline (first parental, later self discipline) is what makes people/society shitty/depressed/immature/etc.

  • When I was growing up, I was perfectly capable of being lonely, depressed, and immature without any of this new-fangled technology!

  • ...full fucking telepresence and not before.

    Until then, the aperture through which the world and human experience flows through will be constrained by keystrokes, emojis, the limitations of the application used, the limitations of the devices used, and the dwindling creativity of their addicted users.

    I have often said, "When the emotional spectrum of our youth is only expressed within the bounds of mad face and smiley face icons, don't be surprised when their experience of life is diminished accordingly."

    Ev

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