Is technology *really* ruining your life? The Rise of Pop Psychology and the Social Media Debate
"So does spending too much time on social media like facebook, instagram, snapchat actually increase loneliness and depression?" "There's so many studies that have come out in the last few years about the social anxiety, stress, low self-esteem." "The Wall Street Journal suggests that teenagers and young adults are becoming more anxious and depressed and solitary because of the increased use of social media." *upbeat techno music pulsates in the background - all music can be found in the description* Okay, let's start.
I'm not an expert on technology nor am I a psychologist. I'm just giving my thoughts on this topic because it seems to me there's this widespread general consensus that technology is "ruining our lives" when in actuality, at least in my research, there seems to be more of a correlation than a causation and I think that's missing a lot of the time from these types of conversations. *upbeat techno music plays in the background* - music can be found in the description Let me know if you've heard this before. "Kids don't play outside anymore." "Humans are de-evolutionizing or we're evolving backwards." "People don't make eye contact anymore." *makes prolonged uncomfortable eye contact* If you've heard at least one of these feelings expressed you've probably been a part of a growing number of conversations about the rise of technology and how it's ruining our lives and turning us into "lazy zombies", "stealing our focus", and like the mantra goes, "de-evolving humanity" as a species. And from the conversations I've been listening to this seems to be the agreed-upon "right take." Smartphones, laptops, tablets, social media, and video games are ruining
our productivity, our mental health, and god forbid our children. I rarely hear any opposing views when someone romanticizes their childhood when they say, "In my day we rode our bikes everywhere and played outside my mom would even lock me out of the house and say don't come back till dinner. Those were the days." Citations are rarely used when the already agreed upon take is that technology is bad and things were just better back then period. And the lack of citations
or dubious sources being used in this tech and social media debate is what made me want to make this video in the first place. There has been so much research that I'll link down below that has said there is no direct causation as of right now linking to unhappiness and social media usage. "We're seeing a lot of panic among parents and teachers and that panic is coming from a very good place, but the evidence is very consistent at this point. We're not seeing these large effects or large associations between screen time and digital engagement and decreases in well-being. It's simply not
there in the way that you know common perceptions in the media or common beliefs that we hear just talking amongst ourselves would lead us to believe." Though there is a heavy correlation in the rise of mental health issues with the rise of smartphones and social media platforms, one doesn't directly cause the other, again as of yet. I personally think it's way too early to make these blanket statements about social media and the use of our cell phones, but we'll get more into that later. Yet there is so much pop psychology and misinformation being held up as fact when in reality it's just confirmation bias and that just really grinds my gears. For example in one podcast that I was listening to, I will not name them or put them on the spot here, they were praising this new book that just came out by Johann Hari called "Stolen Focus: Why you can't pay attention" which discusses a link between cell phone usage and why it's getting harder for us to focus on things. They
were praising this author and the new book and I was so tempted to buy the book until I did further research and discovered that Johann Hari isn't a psychologist, has had issues with plagiarism, and also misused Wikipedia by writing defamatory claims about other journalists. He is also known for using libel law in order to suppress criticism. When I mentioned this "amazing" new bestseller to my friend and told them I was thinking about buying it they told me that they used his case studies as examples in one of their college classes when it came time to talk about how plagiarism works. Yet
this guy is being praised for having some sort of "breakthrough" in the tech and social media debate - how? And this leads me to ask why are we as humans so ready to believe in pop psychology? I personally think it's because of two factors. Firstly self-preservation. We as humans want to survive and thrive and if we hear that something is detrimental to our survival or well-being we're going to believe it more easily. And this brings me to the second factor - negativity bias. Humans have a negativity bias in order to self-preserve we need to remember negative experiences and bad things in order to not repeat those same actions or to stay away from something. This could be remembering
not to eat a certain food because it made you sick to focusing more on negative comments on social media than positive ones, even if there's more of the latter. When it comes to our smartphones if we hear they're bad for us we're more likely to believe that and agree with it because we want to make sure we're living the best life possible. This is just my own theory again, I'm not a psychologist or expert in anything. This is just my opinion as to why we're so ready to believe smartphones and social media are bad for us. It's the same reason why the whole "sitting is the new smoking" thing worked so well, it's a reason why the secretary of the future wax sculpture was made, why the Look Up anti-cell phone video of 2014 went viral, why some people think millennials are growing an extra neck bone from looking down too much, and why the the de-evolution of humanity t-shirts exist. Humans are just naturally afraid of new things. It happened with tv or the "boob tube" and subliminal
messaging in the 90s, video games making people "more violent" in the 2000s, and it happened and is happening again with social media and smartphones. Not to mention making us feel guilty about ourselves makes money. Johann Hari knows it, the people who started the "sitting is the new smoking" campaign know it, the beauty and fashion industry knows it, and basically all the corporations in the world who advertise to us on our phone know it. And now ironically anti-tech authors and pop psychologists can use the same guilt and fear-mongering tactics to get us off of our phones by making us as users feel guilty for scrolling, for not being productive, for "losing focus" by saying that's the reason for our unhappiness and a lot of other nonsense. But of course this doesn't mean that smart devices and social media are flawless. We should still be worried about big
tech companies and monopolies stealing our data, spying on us, and how they target and advertise to children. In addition we should be teaching our children media literacy. But I just really hate this romanticization of "things were better back then" simply because there was no internet or smartphones, when maybe things were just better for some people because their entire worldview wasn't constantly being questioned, when inflation wasn't at an all-time high, when people could still afford to have houses and go to college, but before we get into all of that let's go back to when the panic around social media and the rise of technology first began, back in good old 2011. *upbeat techno music plays in the background - all music can be found in the description* In 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics published their first article addressing parents concerns on the rise of social media and technological devices. The clinical report was
entitled "The impact of social media on children adolescents and families". It addressed both the benefits to children as well as the negatives and risks, and of course our brains are focused on the risks - specifically the term they coined as "facebook depression". "Researchers have proposed a new phenomenon called Facebook depression," defined as depression that develops when pre-teens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites such as facebook and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression. Acceptance by in contact with peers is an important element of adolescent life. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger
depression in some adolescents as with offline depression pre-adolescents and adolescents who suffer from facebook depression are at risk for social isolation and sometimes turn to risky internet sites and blogs for "help" that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors." Facebook depression can best be summed up in the fact that social media magnifies adolescent life and that can be hard for kids to deal with especially those who are already at risk for depression or other mental illnesses. Social media according to the report could become a gateway into self-destructive behaviors and worsen someone's mental state. The report says that spending a lot of time on facebook could cause depression
and this of course is what is remembered from that study. However in 2016 it should be noted that the report was revised. "Benefits from the use of social media in moderation include the opportunity for enhanced social support and connection. Research has suggested a u-shaped
relation between internet use and depression with increased risk of depression at both high and low end of the internet use. One study found that older adolescents who use social media passively for example viewing others photos reported declines in life satisfaction whereas those who interacted with others and posted content did not experience these declines. Thus in addition to the number of hours an individual spends on social media, a key factor is how social media is used." In a New York Times article from 2020 entitled "Panicking about your kids smartphones? New research says don't", Megan Moreno one of the lead authors of the revised statement said, "The original statement had been a problem because it created panic without a strong basis of evidence." So that's nice, you know pediatricians just publishing reports without a strong basis of evidence. But hey it happens to the best of us. The annoying thing though about this is that many people remember the whole "facebook depression" thing more than the fact that they revised the article later when more research and evidence was discovered that contradicted their earlier findings. The other fears in the original 2011 report were cyber bullying and harassment,
sexting, leaving a digital footprint that could make it harder when applying to colleges or jobs, and influential advertising. These fears continue to this day and are a real symptom of social media and smartphone usage. People taking photos of strangers or classmates in public and making fun of them online is very real and the "what you post online is forever" mantra has been rightfully drilled into all of our heads. Other fears I remember being taught at
home was that "cell phones cause brain cancer if you hold them up to your head for too long", and if you talk to even one stranger online you'll end up dead at the bottom of a ditch. The last early fear from the 2011 report that I think continues to this day and is still relevant is that of FOMO or fear of missing out. When you go on social media and see people doing stuff you feel like you should be doing that too or maybe you see that your close friends or peers are hanging out and having a blast without you and that might make you feel bad. And fomo can hit even harder when you're a teenager because you're still developing and want to fit in and are generally just insecure about who you are and your place in the world. You're finding yourself. I definitely think the initial report wasn't totally wrong about the symptoms of social media use like cyber bullying, feeling left out, and the dangers of putting too much of yourself online still ring true today. And I also think it's good that they ended up revising the report in 2016 to say there isn't a definitive causation in social media use and mental illnesses such as depression, but that it might enhance those feelings if they're already present.
Lastly the 2011 report did mention benefits of internet connectivity which were: Opportunities for community engagement, enhancement of individual and collective creativity, growth of ideas from the creation of blogs, podcast, videos, and gaming, expansion of one's online connections through shared interests especially to include others from more diverse backgrounds, and lastly fostering of one's individual identity and unique social skills - all of which are still true today. It's honestly baffling to me as an adult that I was able to make friends in school and that kids are able to make friends at all in a school environment where you're just stuck with a bunch of kids your own age who you might not have anything in common with, but you just have to put up with them for eight hours a day or more because you have no choice. I know a lot of kids who had more online friends than irl friends because the school friendship pool can be so limiting, especially if you are from a more diverse background or have a different identity or like niche things. Being online a lot isn't all bad and they recognize that, but again a lot of people just tend to latch on to "the facebook is making your kid depressed" thing which makes sense, but also there are bigger causes to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety and a lot of the times there isn't a sole cause. *upbeat techno music plays in the background - all music can be found in the description* Like I said earlier, in 2016 the American Academy of Pediatrics published a revised article on the impact of social media entitled, "Media use in school-aged children and adolescents." So let's first talk about the risks and then the benefits. The first risk listed in the article is obesity.
"A first area of our health concern is media use and obesity and most studies have focused on TV. One study found that the odds of being overweight were almost five times greater for adolescents who watch more than five hours of tv per day compared with those who watch zero to two hours." The article suggests limiting screen time and having kids play outside rather than watch tv or play video games. The causal link between sitting too much and obesity is one that is as old as time itself.
In reality, in my personal opinion, I personally think that genetics play into your weight distribution a lot more than if you just sit around all day. I know really sedentary people who are thin and really active people who are bigger. You can still be bigger and still be healthy and sometimes no matter how much you play outside you're still going to be bigger and that's okay. It also depends on what your diet is like, and maybe kids who sit and watch tv more also have different diets than kids who play outside, but that isn't discussed in the article. The next risk they talk about is blue light exposure which is a common fear we have to this day. So does blue light
cause eye strain? It really depends on who you ask. Some people say that wearing blue light glasses help while the American Academy of Ophthalmology says that "you don't need them. And has gone on record as not recommending any type of special eyewear for computer users. The organization says blue light from digital devices does not lead to eye disease and does not even cause eye strain. The problems people complain about are simply caused by an overuse of digital devices it says." However
blue light can affect melatonin levels and can delay or disrupt sleep. They suggest not sleeping with your device or letting kids stay on their phones before bed because it could lead to a bad sleep and therefore bad school performance. From my experience I never had a problem with blue light or sleeping but I know people who've had had problems turning off their devices before bed or staying up all night online and not being able to wake up in time for school and it's like maybe school shouldn't start so early. Not every kid is a morning person and
maybe if they didn't give us so much homework we wouldn't have to finish it so late. In high school I had maybe an hour to myself before I had to go to sleep and do the whole thing over again and some kids are just night owls. I also want to add that led screens used on tvs also give off blue light, but a fair amount of people that I know use the tv to help them fall asleep. "Since anxiety and the inability to quiet thoughts is one of the primary reasons people have trouble sleeping it stands to reason that if the tv helps you calm down you may as well use it to get to sleep" says Chris Brantner a certified sleep coach. I think though there are also negative side effects
to sleeping with the tv on because of melatonin production, there are also positive effects that we shouldn't overlook nor should we shame those who use technology to help them sleep. I'm not saying that blue light isn't real or affects sleep because it does, but again the doctors don't talk about other factors as to why kids might be up so late and maybe it's because not everyone has the same sleep pattern or because that's their me time that they don't get to have during the day. The last risk or negative side effect of social media and technology use is about multitasking. "At home many children and teenagers use entertainment media at the same time they are engaged in other tasks such as homework. A growing body of evidence suggests that the use of media will engage in
academic tasks has negative consequences on learning." I remember, this is anecdotal, I remember I had a teacher one to let us doodle in class because they said that some kids focused more when doodling or doing other tasks and that I thought was really awesome of them. Some kids just can't sit with their feet on the floor, make perfect eye contact, and pay attention.
There are a few kids who do focus better while listening to music, while watching a movie, while doing homework or studying, not all kids but some. And I know to most people that seems contradictory because you're supposed to only be doing one thing at a time, but some people aren't like that and sometimes we just go on our phones to take breaks while studying and it's not the end of the world. As for the benefits the article says, "Social media can enhance access to valuable support networks which may be particularly helpful for patients with ongoing illnesses, conditions or disabilities." "Interactive media can also provide opportunities for the promotion of community participation and civic engagement. Students can collaborate with one another on assignments and projects on many online media platforms. The use of social media helps families and friends who are separated geographically communicate across the miles." I should also note the 2016
study says there's a benefit to those in the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to social media and smart devices because online can be a safe space for them to come together when they may not be out or know other LGBTQ+ kids in their daily life. The benefits of social media and technology really help marginalize people such as people who are disabled or part of the LGBTQ+ community and just people who interact with the world differently which is another reason besides just confirmation bias, negativity bias, and self-preservation as to why I think the benefits of tech and social media get overlooked. Social media and the wide use of technology helps promote and normalize a way of life that is outside of what has long been seen as typical and anything that's not seen as normal or typical is demonized. And because technology and social media helps people on the margins that's bad to some as we'll see later because that's not how life is "supposed" to be, which again adds to its demonization. They really focus on both the utilitarian aspects of social media like how we can use it for school but also the social aspects like using it to connect with people you might not be able to connect with otherwise. Yet for some reason they lack that same kind of social outlook when it comes to looking at the negative effects and how some of the negative effects might be subjective.
I know the article is meant to generalize kids, but maybe we shouldn't be generalizing kids as all kids, like all adults, are different. And I just want to add another disclaimer here that I'm not saying all this stuff to be edgy or contrarian even if it comes off like that, I just want to say that there's more to this discussion that could be lost if we just say across the board these are the negative effects point blank without any room to improve on research. *upbeat techno music plays in the background - all music can be found in the description* In september 2017 psychologist Dr. Jean M. Twenge wrote a now viral article entitled Have smartphones destroyed a generation? which was adapted for the Atlantic from Twenge's then forthcoming book "iGen: Why today superconnected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy, and completely unprepared for adulthood, and what that means for the rest of us." *uncomfortable silence* So that's not a loaded title or anything. The premise of the piece is that igen as they call
it who were born from 1995 to 2012, the year that the proportion of Americans who owned smartphones surpassed 50%, are now unhappy because of social media and smartphones. They're not only unhappy but they're having less sex, drinking less, working less, driving less, and are hanging out in person less, and when they do hang out it's usually supervised. Basically the allure of freedom doesn't appeal to igen who can just sit back and depend on their parents to take them places and shelter them. In addition even though they have all of this free time they're not doing anything productive with it, rather they're just on their phones, sad and anxious, all suffering from fomo. If you never met a real teenager before and all you had to go on was this article, you'd just imagined a kid with like clenched teeth, frazzled hair, on the brink of tears as they hold their phone an inch from their face. Honestly, that's a mood but in reality it's a total caricature of today's teens
and I personally think it's really infantilizing. I really just hate the angle that she goes for which is that because we're having less sex, not driving as much, and hanging out less it means that we're automatically unhappy or using all that time to be on our phones. She never touches on the stress and demand school plays which is a huge part of kids lives nowadays, especially when they get to high school. The competitiveness to get into college nowadays is mind-boggling. The amount of time we spent on homework, projects, extracurriculars, and padding out our resume was endless. She does say that kids aren't studying less than they did before. In fact "they're spending about the same amount of time on homework as their predecessors did. The time the seniors spend
on activities such as student clubs and sports and exercise has changed little in recent years." However because teens aren't "working for pay", as they should apparently, that means that igen teens have more time to do what they want to do, but what are those lazy teens doing? "They're on their phone in their room alone and often distressed." She really fixates on this idea that if igen teens were "working for pay" and getting ready for the adult world that they'd be happier or at least not on their phones. And I remember working part-time jobs, like as soon as I turned 16 I had to work. I didn't want to work but I had to work and I freaking hated working as a teenager. And I honestly felt more stressed from the work than I did from my regular school work, and I was not happier. One is not the solution to the other. No kid should have to work if they don't want to or if
they don't have to. She says the article isn't to romanticize or take a stroll down nostalgia lane but that's all the article really is. Half of it is dedicated to just berating igen teens for not working, not getting a driver's license, and depending on their parents for things - god forbid. Don't you just hate those people that are like "you're not ready for the real world", it's like I'm a teenager. I think what we're learning more and more nowadays is that people don't want to work and that life shouldn't revolve around work and weekends and money. We should have free time to do what we want to do and not just be working for the weekend. I remember I had this teacher
who in freshman year of high school talked about how "teens nowadays don't make eye contact", and it's like maybe they just don't want to look at you. You know teens are insecure. They're an insecure group of people. They're still learning how to function in the world and they're learning how to make eye contact or maybe sometimes they don't like making eye contact or it makes them uncomfortable.
There's so many other things that go into it and it's not all about you. Why can't you just let teens be teens? And maybe that looks different from when you were a teen, but guess what? That's okay. She writes "Teens in turn seem to be content with this homebody arrangement" and it's like why wouldn't they be? Her article also fails to mention that this "cushy demographic of baby teens who don't know how the real world works" only applies to upper middle class and above teens. She never addresses how some teens actually do have part-time jobs, take care of their grandparents, have to help pay rent, and can't afford a car, don't have health insurance, and have bigger things to worry about than dating or hanging out with their friends. She also writes about how kids don't hang
out irl anymore because all of their friends are online and yeah, sometimes people have more friends online than irl, so what? Like I mentioned before it really baffles me to today that I and others were even able to make friends in high school because school in general is already such a hostile environment where you just kind of have to find people who you may not like, but who will tolerate you and who you will tolerate just so you're not a "loner." Nowadays I get why some kids in my high school didn't have friends at school and that's because most of the time the kids at school, including me, sucked. I was born in 1995 and graduated high school in 2013 so my whole life fits into this igen that they're talking about and the entire article is so disingenuous and again really talks down to teens and later we'll find out where she got her data from, which was from the monitoring the future survey funded by the national institute on drug abuse, which asks teens thousands of questions every year is totally wrong, which no [ __ ] because of the survey about drug use in teens not technology. And if I was a teen who had to answer thousands
of questions in a survey I'd probably be really unhappy doing that. The data she used actually shows no decline in teen happiness in the past 20 years and teens who use social media a lot aren't more depressed than teens who use it less. I should add that there is a 0.82 percent increase in happiness between students who said they spent 10 hours or less on social media compared to those who spent 10 hours or more. On the other hand there's a 0.89 percent increase in happiness in students who did spend 10 hours or more on social media. Those who spent more time on social media are 0.89 percent more likely
to say they are pretty happy. Lastly there's a 1.45 percent decrease in happiness in students who said they were very happy, compared to those who spent less time on social media. So the findings of this monitoring the future survey provided by the national institute on drug abuse are very small and also non-specific. The author of the igen article doesn't go into detail about
what these teens were doing on social media, how that time is distributed throughout the week, and what the definition of happiness is. I also want to add that a lot goes into diagnosing someone with depression, and simply reporting that you're not happy or just saying you're not happy doesn't mean that you're depressed. A lot of factors go into depression and being depressed is more than just not feeling happy, but the author never really addresses that and I'm not sure the study differentiates that either. What I'm trying to say is that depression is more than just being sad or
feeling sad or feeling unhappy, it is a real mental illness and mental state and I think that's important to keep in mind here. Though there might be slight declines and slight increases in happiness and unhappiness when using social media, it's not a major seismic shift that the author presents for their larger claims. I should also add that the igen article says that because the recession of 2008 is "over" we can't blame the economy on how teens are behaving nowadays. But just because the recession is "over" doesn't mean the side effects have been tackled or aren't still hurting us. For
example even though the recession of 2008 is over, after it ended we weren't building more housing and therefore nowadays we have a housing shortage. Housing prices are exuberant and people just can't afford to move out or even pay rent. They also don't talk about the student loan crisis that has affected young people and teens for most of the 21st century. The author completely ignores the fact that this igen generation are living with the ramifications of the recession, student loans, lack of health care, etc., simply because by 2012 the recession was over to them and therefore the thing that must be causing all of this torment must be technology and social media what [ __ ].
I think one of the funniest passages to me of this article was about 8th graders not working enough. They write, "The number of eighth graders who work for pay has been cut in half. Those declines accelerated during the great recession, but teen employment has not bounced back even though job availability has." First of all why do you expect 8th graders to have jobs? Secondly maybe job availability has bounced back but what are the wages for those jobs? What's the price of gas or public transportation to get to those jobs? The price of cars and car insurance? Do parents have time to take their kids to these minimum wage jobs? Is it even worth it? Are there more lucrative job positions that can be done and completed online? The author doesn't care. She writes "social networking sites like facebook promise to connect us to friends but the portrait of igen teens emerging from the data is one of a lonely dislocated generation", but that's only if you take the website at its word and don't realize that it's a front for stealing your personal information. The article ends with an anecdote about how this teen in her life ended up throwing her friend's phone at a wall because she was so obsessed with texting her boyfriend, but what does that even prove? A kid was with their friend and was distracted because they're probably one of the first relationships ever and isn't that exciting? And isn't dating important as seen by the author who's so afraid that teens aren't dating? So why is this act of throwing a phone at a wall a sign of triumph? It's such a strange read and such a hostile title that I don't know who would take this seriously, but apparently this article really blew up. She tries to make this causation argument that it's your smartphone that's ruining
your kid's life and an entire generation of teens aren't getting the "normal" teen experience, but who's to say that norms can't change? Why in your head are cars so important? Or teens having sex for that matter? It's just so bizarre and that same year out came a rebuttal. *buzzing electronic music plays in the background - all music can be found in the description* The rebuttal to Twenge's book was written by Dr. Alexandra Samuel, a technology writer researcher and speaker who holds a doctorate in political science from Harvard university. Samuel most importantly fact checks Twenge's information much of which she got from the afore- mentioned monitoring the future survey. Though funnily enough "Dr. Twenge and a co-author argued in a 2010 paper that the MTF (monitoring the future) dataset does not measure anxiety and depression so it is not possible to test changes in mental health using this data." Yet Twenge used the mtf dataset in her book
anyway - odd. And like I cited earlier the mtf data she used for her book doesn't show a decline in happiness or cell phone or social media usage as the cause or any cause for a decline in happiness. "Twenge doesn't just base her argument on happiness levels over time. She also argues that all screen activities are linked to less happiness and all non-screen activities are linked to more happiness.
8th graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they're unhappy than those who devote less time to social media. Yet look at the 12th grade data and there's no such effect. Teens report near identical levels of happiness regardless of whether they're on the higher or lower end of social media usage." However I do think that we should be wary when looking at this quote and this finding because the difference between 8th and 12th grade is very large. However she does argue, Twenge argues that all screen activities lead to unhappiness for all teenagers in this igen generation, but this finding does contradict that regardless of the age gap. In addition can I just say that happiness is such a vague term. Like happiness to one person
could be totally different for another person. What metrics are they using to measure someone's happiness? Anyway besides checking out some of the data from Twenge's book Samuel also comes to their own conclusion. Rather than focusing on the children they focus on the parents and how it was actually the parents on social media and smartphones that boomed in 2009 that might explain why their kids are so distraught. The parents are so focused on their own social media and smartphones that they just kind of shove it in front of their kids without any guidance or thought. Samuel writes, "Fellow parents it's time for us to consider another possible explanation for why our kids are increasingly disengaged, it's because we've disengaged ourselves. We're too busy looking down at our screens to look up at our kids." "My own research suggests that the
best way we can do that is by embracing our role as digital mentors: actively encouraging our kids to use technology but offering ongoing support and guidance in how to use it appropriately." *calm electronic music plays in the background - all music can be found in the description* In a CNBC video released earlier this year about child care in the U.S. they highlighted a few ways to get kids off of their damn phones. Firstly they talked about how Yonder is used in some high schools in order to lock students phones. This is the first time I've ever heard about Yonder or this device, but it is being used apparently in some schools in order to get students off of their phones during classroom time. Some kids in the video talked about how they were going to protest the usage because it's their personal property while others talked about how they feel more present since using the device. In my day the school was allowed to take your cell
phone, at least in my school, after a warning was given, and then you were given it back at the end of the day. Some kids really hated this and just refused to give up their phones and ended up just getting a detention. I was definitely on my phone texting my friends all day in high school so I get how it can be distracting and how kids would rather be anywhere else but school, but maybe that's a bigger problem of how public schools in the U.S.
are taught and run rather than just cell phone use. The video also mentions the Waldorf school which is a system of private schools in the U.S. that are unconventional. I knew someone who went to a Waldorf school after they just couldn't take the stress of public school anymore specifically because of grades. The Waldorf grading system is very different from the public system and it lets
kids feel more free and less in competition with one another. In addition the class sizes are a lot smaller and there's more of a homey feeling rather than going to a school with thousands of other kids. But of course the video doesn't mention any of this as to why the kids might be happier there but rather focuses on the fact that they don't use technology very much there until high school and even then they don't really encourage it that much as the reason to why the kids are feeling better there. The classes focus more on holistic activities like knitting, sewing, cooking, planting, and being outdoors and that's all great and awesome, but I just hate how in the video they try to link the reason to why the kids are happier is because there's no technology when it's so much more than that. Not getting grades, having a small class size, those are huge differences that can also lead to more happiness and satisfaction in life than just "we don't allow smartphones or computers". But in the end they do say that a good proportion of the graduating senior class does go into STEM fields even though they grew up in a school that didn't use tech that much.
In addition the video also adds that teens who go to Waldorf aren't really that different from the teens who go to public school. In the last five minutes of the video they talked to Dr. Candice L. Odgers, a professor at the University of California Irvine and a lead author of the paper: Adolescent mental health in the digital age facts, fears, and future directions, which was published in the journal of child psychology and psychiatry. "The paper combs through about 40 studies that have examined the link between social media use and both depression and anxiety among adolescents. That link according to the professors is small and inconsistent." In the video she states this and how there is no causal relationship as of now and how it's mostly correlation. In the aforementioned 2020 new york times article entitled Panicking about your kids phones? New research says don't they interviewed Odgers and others and talked about other reasons our kids might be anxious stressed or depressed. "Why else might American kids be anxious other than their telephones?" Mr. Hancock,
the founder of Stanford social media lab said. "How about climate change? How about income inequality? How about student debt? There are so many big giant structural issues that have a huge impact on us but are invisible and that we're not looking at." Ms. Odgers added that "She was not surprised that people had a hard time accepting her findings. Her own mother questioned
her research after one of her grandsons stopped talking to her during the long drives she used to enjoy, but 'children tuning out their elders when they become teenagers is hardly a new trend'. She said 'it's hard work because it's not the environment that we were raised in', she said." "It can be a little scary at times, I have those moments too." I think a lot of adults forget that this is new and unexplored territory and that just because it's new doesn't mean it's necessarily bad. Gen Z and millennials living at home longer, not owning cars, or having less children isn't the end of the world and there's no one cause for it. It's a bunch of compounding factors and to blame young
people's unhappiness or laziness on smartphones is just an easy out. So with all that out of the way, let's talk about actual and current fears. One of the biggest fears that I personally have is tech monopolies and how only a few websites govern our internet and control all of our data. Not only do they control it, but they sell it and make money off of us. You know we are the product of social media. Another big fear is of course algorithms and confirmation bias that has radicalized many people
and how because of algorithms we all stay on our bubbles and have trouble finding out what's real and what's fake. Next is of course doom scrolling, another side effect of the algorithm trying to keep us online as long as possible, and of course the addictive kind of interface of social media. A lot of people say that it's like a slot machine, you know you just keep refreshing, refreshing, refreshing. Either waiting for notifications or looking for something new at the top of your feed.
It's there to be addictive. Not just the social media platform itself, but also how smooth it feels and how good it feels in our hands. And then there's people taking photos of others without their consent and harassing them online. This has been going on I think since the invention of Snapchat or even the early days of instagram, and it is a huge problem that's only gotten worse. And generally there's just this overall sense of being overwhelmed by information that our brains just cannot handle. Twitter is not a normal way to interact with the world. We're not equipped to seeing happy thing, then sad thing, then the thing that makes us mad, and then happy thing again. It's
really exhausting. I feel overwhelmed by social media a lot of the time which is why I ended up deleting my instagram and why I'm never getting Tik Tok. I also think that we don't talk enough about how guilty we're supposed to feel when we're on our phones. Like when we're just lying in bed at the end of the day relaxing on our phones you know, maybe it's not the most relaxing thing in the world, but you know we do it and it's self-indulgent, but of course we're made to feel bad about it or guilty because we should be doing something more productive. "You should be reading more", when sometimes you just want to relax on your phone. I just hate how we're made to feel
guilty about being on our phones or when you're at a restaurant and you're texting but you also feel guilty because you're supposed to be in the moment. You know when I was a kid I was made to feel constantly guilty for being on my laptop or being plugged in or listening to music on a long drive or playing games on my phone and I think that creates a really unhealthy relationship to technology more than anything else. It's supposed to be this great tool and it's fun, you can play games on it, you could talk to your friends, but then it turns into something that we have to feel bad about and I just hate that. I don't think the adults in my life helped me foster a healthy balance with my phone because it was always made out to be all or nothing. Like you're either on your phone or you're not on your phone, you can't be like both in the moment and also on your phone, which is a lie because I think you can do both. In reality you could be doing a lot of stuff on your phone and you're not just being lazy or not in the moment. I
also really hate how people think that cell phones have ruined the art of in-person conversation like people still talk to each other in real life and kids still play outside, that hasn't stopped happening. Maybe it's different now but I don't think people will ever stop talking to one another in person. I just hate this guilt that we associate with being on our phones because we should not feel guilty about it! Making the population feel guilty about enjoying their phones, their technology is how capitalism works because that guilt turns into a fear of us not being productive enough. That's why in some countries there are laws that you don't have to use your phone for work or answer work emails after a certain time because then you can just use it for leisure and it doesn't have to be this weight hanging over you. We need to find a balance and it's still really too soon to make these blanket statements about technology and mental health and the children even though so many people do because it is so lucrative to fear monger and scare people. Moving forward I think we need to teach kids better media literacy, not just when something is clearly fake or plagiarized, but how to read advertisements, how to know when you're being targeted, and how to be smart when you're using social media. How apps and various platforms don't have your best interests
at heart and to keep your private information private. Kids should also be taught not to take photos of their classmates or strangers and post them online to mock or cyberbully. Kids should be taught not to harass others online because even though it's online it still really hurts. In general parents need to be more involved with how their kids use social media and their smartphones and foster a balance between screen time and non-screen time. They need to set a good example for their kids, which is of course easier said than done when a lot of adult life is online, but hopefully a happy medium can be struck. Lastly I think parents need to stop projecting their fears and nostalgia onto their kids, and actually this goes out to adults in general. I think
romanticizing your childhood and how things used to be can be really patronizing and also unhelpful. Meet kids today where they're at and where the world is currently and don't fixate on a point in time that's long gone. Every kid is different and is going to have different needs and likes and interests and as long as you help nurture those I think the kids will be all right. And before I go on i just want to say that I decided to make this video more general and more about trying to start a debate and question what the mainstream take on how bad cell phones and social media is, especially when it's mainly backed up by pop psychology. And I didn't make this video about anything really specific like teen influencers or beauty standards or how social media ages kids up and sexting and that was all on purpose. I don't know enough about that and I'm not in those spheres,
but I am curious to know what you think about those topics if you know more about them. I will just quickly bring up an interesting story about a mom who deleted her daughter's social media platform with 2 million followers because I think about that a lot. So that's the end of the video thank you so much to anyone and everyone who did answer my community post or tweet when I put this topic out there because it was really helpful reading what you had to say. I know I feel guilty for being on my phone and the internet too much but I also know a lot of that guilt is needless and just a waste of my own energy. When the iOS thing came out that shows how long you
spend on your phone or that graphic on instagram that tells you how much you spent on instagram was made I immediately turned them off because I'm not going to let them make me feel guilty for being on my phone eight hours a day. Like sorry that's just how life works nowadays and I'm not sorry about it you know. I get a lot of fun from being online and watching youtube and listening to music every day and I'm not going again to apologize for that. Technology has helped me communicate with my friends and family across the world and I think it can be used for good and in moderation. So let me know what you think about feeling guilty when it comes to your phone, how your phone makes you feel, and let me know if you think that all this fear-mongering about technology is unwarranted or not and in my opinion I think we still have many many years ahead to see how technology really affects the youth and adults because I still think it's too early to really again say anything conclusive. So that's it. Thanks for watching let me know again what you thought of this video and this topic down below and I'll see you in the next one bye!