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Laura carson Cristina

Writing 121

February 11, 2018

Answer. Yes

Are Smartphones Having A Negative Effect On Teenagers?

Everywhere we go, it seems like there is someone staring at his or her smartphone, particularly with the teen population. In restaurants, malls, public transportation, schools, and automobiles, people have become dependent on their smartphone. Is this having a negative effect on us?

Jean M. Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has a name for these young people born between 1995 and 2012. They are "iGen" teens that have had smartphones through their entire adolescents (Cornish, 2017). Smart phones have become more and more popular and during 2010 to 2012 nearly every teenager had one or was working towards getting one. Not only were there more smartphones, but also adolescents are spending much more time on them.

What effect is this possibly doing to our teenagers? According to teens that were interviewed, many admitted that they are unhappy, lonely and depressed; yet not understanding why. Is it directly related to the use of social media and the amount of time spent on smartphones? It does appear to be connected according to researchers. "Given that using social media for more hours is linked to more loneliness, and that smartphones were used by the majority of Americans around 2012, and that's the same time loneliness increases, that's very suspicious. You can't absolutely prove causation, but by a bunch of different studies, there's this connection between spending a lot of time on social media and feeling lonely" (Cornish, 2017).

Origin and Prevalence

The inference that prolonged exposure to screens has a direct correlation to depression and other mental health issues in today's youth, or the "iGen." The generations that are targeted are 1990-2000 and have been linked to higher suicide rates, because they have less interactions with family, friends, and the outside world. While these young adults spend most of their time on the phone this will cause them to become irritable. They begin to not get enough sleep and it makes them feel like they are slowing down and choosing to behave artificially rather than authentically.

Issues and Analysis

In Jean M. Twenge's study, a psychology professor at the University of San Diego, she found that teenagers that spend more time on their smartphones, television, ect., are less happy than those who spend time doing outdoor activities. Satisfaction with themselves drastically dropped back in 2012, which is when the use of social media and smartphones had its big break, with about 50% of the population using smartphones.

Jean said in a article she wrote in THE CONVERSATION that even if phones didnt have a direct effect on a person's happiness that they do have an effect on how we interact with people. With more and more ways popping up everyday to interact with people online we drift away from human contact. She found that especially teens resort to online interaction opposed to real life. Humans,by nature, are wired to need human interaction. Face to face interactions bring humans some of the deepest happiness, and without it, it can have a major effect on one's happiness, since being socially isolated is one of the biggest risk factors of suicide.

Another effect that smartphones have had is that most teens that spend a lot of time of them aren't getting enough sleep due to staying up. Its widely known that insufficient sleep has a major effect on our well being and it also plays into the cause of depression. Jean M. Twenge concluded that even though it's not the cause of everyone suffering of depression, it certainly can play a major role in a young person's happiness and quality of mental health.


Petter, O. (2018, January 23). Screen time linked to lower levels of happiness in teenagers, study finds.http://www.independent.co.uk/us Retrieved February 05, 2018, from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/screen-time-health-happiness-impact-study-teenagers-a8173421.htmlRetrieved February 05, 2018, from

Jean Twenge Professor of Psychology, San Diego State University. (2018, February 09). With teen mental health deteriorating over five years, there's a likely culprit. https://theconversation.com/usRetrieved February 11, 2018, from https://theconversation.com/with-teen-mental-health-deteriorating-over-five-years-theres-a-likely-culprit-86996

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