“Americans under 30 feeling worse about their lives”; researchers say smartphones may be the cause

Depression-under-30 Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Psalm 42:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”

Important Takeaways:

  • 1 big thing: Kids are dying inside
  • A shocking number of American kids are sad, suicidal and stuck on small screens sucking away their zest for life.
  • Rates of depression and anxiety among American adolescents jumped by more than 50% in multiple studies between 2010 and 2019, writes Jonathan Haidt, a leading expert on the spike in teen mental illness. Those numbers were relatively stable in the 2000s.
  • The suicide rate for kids between 10 and 14 tripled between 2007 and 2021, according to the CDC.
  • The share of high school girls who seriously considered attempting suicide jumped from 19% in 2011 to 30% in 2021.
  • The pandemic is often cited as a driver of the teen mental health crisis. But it was brewing long before then
  • A growing body of research links the acceleration of the crisis to one of this century’s biggest events: the arrival of the smartphone.
  • “Smartphones and social media fundamentally changed the way teens spend their time outside of school,” says Jean Twenge, a psychologist and author of the book “Generations.”
  • In the early 2000s, middle- and high-school kids saw friends in person about three times a week. Now, that’s closer to 1.5, according to data from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future project.
  • At the same time, screen time has skyrocketed. Teens spend an average of 4.8 hours every day on social media apps, including TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, according to Gallup.
  • For the first time, the U.S. fell out of the top 20 in the World Happiness Report, released Tuesday. Gallup cited “Americans under 30 feeling worse about their lives” for the steep drop

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