Don’t Take Away Your Teen’s Phone

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Media Outlet: Slate

Lisa Guernsey wrote a piece for FutureTense in Slate about teenage smartphone use. 

To my fellow parents desperately trying to raise happy, self-sufficient kids in this confounding digital age: Let’s talk about that article careening through our Facebook feeds. In the Atlantic, demographer and author Jean Twenge finds a series of troubling new dots to connect between social media and teen depression, raising the question: “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”
Already, experts on media and kids are cautioning against alarmism, using this as a teachable moment. In Psychology Today, Sarah Rose Cavanagh points out that Twenge’s evidence is “cherry-picked” and drawn from correlational research that does not show smartphones to be the cause of depression but instead shows “merely observed associations between certain variables.” And over at JSTOR Daily, Alexandra Samuel displays several charts that demonstrate how teen happiness has taken a slight dip but on the whole is not all that different than it was last decade or the decade before that.


Lisa Guernsey is deputy director of the Education Policy program and director of the Learning Technologies project at New America.