Generation IG

Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor and author, paints a grim portrait of modern teenage life.

So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed.

One of her remarkably self-aware subjects says some haunting things.

She spent much of her summer keeping up with friends, but nearly all of it was over text or Snapchat. “I’ve been on my phone more than I’ve been with actual people,” she said. “My bed has, like, an imprint of my body.”

Twenge provides some interesting graphs and statistics. Here’s one I found alarming.

Like this one, many of the statistics have an inflection point around 2011.

What happened in 2011? It was the first year of Instagram.

Notably, the first few years of the iPhone, before mobile-focused social media, did not coincide with significant changes in behavior.

To me, mobile computing and social networking are a poisonous cocktail. I think most people, including me, have noticed some of the effects first-hand. But unlike this generation, most of us did not begin our social lives under the influence. Will there be a hangover?