Today's teens are unhappier
Overall, use of smartphones has drastically changed the way members of the iGeneration engage with the world. Teens are less likely to engage in in-person contact and more likely to live their lives out primarily through a digital space. This shift is already demonstrating some startling consequences. When measuring levels of perceived happiness in teens, Twenge’s research indicates that the iGeneration is significantly unhappier than previous generations. She also notes that teenagers who don’t spend significant time on their phone but instead engage in in-person activities such as clubs, a job, or religious activities report higher levels of happiness than their phone-bound counterparts.
Similarly, members of the iGeneration report more emotional distress, such as depression and anxiety, as well as a growing rate of suicide among teens.
Twenge notes that for the first time, teens are now more likely to kill themselves than they are to kill each other. While the teen homicide rate has dropped and that’s positive, it's introduced an era when more and more teens attempt to take their own lives.