Is technology *really* ruining your life? The Rise of Pop Psychology and the Social Media Debate

Is technology *really* ruining your life? The Rise of Pop Psychology and the Social Media Debate

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"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!

2022-06-05 19:14

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