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Joshua C Kotula’s point caught my attention as he describes both points of view on the use of smartphones and how they have revolutionized current times. It has made it a struggle for teenagers to talk to one another in person but has helped other students to communicate as they may be facing issues of their own, for example, anxiety. The authors, Jonathan Haidt and Jean M. Twenge, state, “Loneliness is certainly not the same as depression, but the two are correlated…,” which leaves me to think that anxiety can stem from depression or loneliness. For example, a kid can have anxiety because they are always alone, due to all the other kids at school being on their phones. It then creates an environment where students feel that they would be judged by others, on social media. This makes communication lack even more at home, school, or any environment teenagers are present. This would then lead to students being on their phones more and lead teenagers right into the trap of the 21st century, the smartphone.


Haidt and Twenge not only express their concerns about the negative effects of social media on teenagers in Gen Z, but they also explain how we are putting our basic human interaction skills at risk of extinction. Especially through the Covid-19 outbreak, teens have turned to social media to interact with people, stay updated on what’s going on in society, and because they are bored in general and have nothing else to do. This increased use of social media leads to teens feeling isolated and lonely because living life and socializing through a smartphone is simply no substitution for in-person socializing. These negative effects could effects Gen Z in the long run, for example, in five or ten years from now when these teens have full-time jobs and are being interviewed for new careers, social skills and communication are key, without these skills nobody will want to hire them, and they will have issues finding a career that suits them well. Social media and smartphones are incredible tools, however, just like anything else, too much time spent on social media will eventually take its negative effects on us.


I agree with Haidt and Twenge’s statement on how teenage girls are more vulnerable to experiencing the mental health consequences that come with using social media. What we see on social media is not real life. Often times, teenage girls will only post the highlights of their lives and hide the negative parts of them. Other girls will see what looks like the perfect life and compare their own lives to it. This can have a large effect on their mental health and decrease their confidence. As mentioned in the article, social media invites girls to compare and despair, leading to depression, isolation, and loneliness. The bodies that girls are jealous of over social media are most likely edited and re-edited multiple times in order to bring them closer to perfection over reality. What girls don’t realize, is that everyone has imperfections. Most likely, the things that we feel most insecure about, someone else views them as what makes us the most beautiful. Since 2012, the rates of teenage self-harm and depression only have risen sharply. I do believe this has a correlation with the fact that in 2015, two thirds of teens owned a smartphone. Owning a smartphone became normal for teenagers and was no longer an option. Since more people owned cell phones and used social media, teenage loneliness in schools has risen, as shown in the graph featured in the article. Teenagers lost communication skills and the COVID-19 Pandemic has only made this worse. It is apparent today that people are not used to communicating in person anymore and rely on their phones to reach out to people. Because of this, teenagers are lonelier than ever, as they don’t know how to involve themselves and communicate with others. I have plenty of personal experiences with this issue and am guilty of sticking to my phone when around other people that I may not know, especially in school. I find that people rely on their phones when they are in uncomfortable situations, instead of forcing themselves to deal with any issues. The authors present ways to limit the use of smartphones, such as taking them away for a period of time during the day to allow teens to focus on school. However, I agree with Mark’s statement above regarding the fact that these suggestions are unrealistic since most schools encourage the use of phones to aid in learning. People can limit their own personal use of phones but unfortunately, there will never be a way to stop social media from having negative effects on society. Although social media and smartphones, are seen as a safe place for a lot of people, I do agree that it is damaging to one’s mental health and has a big effect on teenagers, as they are still growing and are heavily influenced by others thoughts and opinions.


Is there an epidemic of loneliness among teenagers? That's the question that acclaimed social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and bestselling author Jean M. Twenge posed in a recent article for the New York Times. The duo argued that the constant connectivity offered by smartphones has replaced meaningful, in-person interactions and created a generation of young people who are less experienced in navigating the complications of face-to-face relationships.
The article then goes on to explain how smartphones have changed the way that teenagers interact with each other. While it is clear that social media can be a great way to keep in touch with faraway friends, it is also true that many young people use their phones to avoid face-to-face interactions. Social media allows people to avoid the risks and awkwardness that can come with meeting new people.
For example, I often find myself too busy on my phone to have a conversation with the people around me. I'm sure that many of us have been in a situation where we are all together, but everyone is too busy on their phones to talk to each other.
However, during Covid-19, smartphones were needed to stay in touch with your families and friends. They served an important role in remote working and distance learning as well as helped everyone connect with each other, even when they were apart.
The isolation that many teenagers have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has made social media even more critical to how they sustain their relationships with each other. Without smartphones, it would be impossible for teenagers to maintain their relationships with their friends and family members who are far away or unable to meet up in person. Social media allows them to feel like they are still close even when they are physically apart.
I do agree with Alvia where they stated that smartphones not only have a negative impact, but also serve as a positive purpose in an individual's everyday life.

mckayla abt

In the article I have chosen the authors talk about how the use of smartphones and social media has changed how people interact with each other. They also argue the point that this can affect long term relationships for younger generations.
I agree that since the pandemic teenagers spend a majority of their time on social media , or on their phones in general. Being that there was a period of time during the pandemic that no one was allowed to see each other. Social media and texting was our only way of feeling like there was something normal happening. But there has been a point I have noticed no one talking to each other just sitting there in silence. This has made teens' social skills decline. In the essay written by Haidt and Twenge they talked about how girls are particularly vulnerable to the negative mental health consequences of social media use. I can say first hand being a teenage girl social media can have a negative impact mentally. On social media they encourage you to look a certain way to be socially acceptable. It can be hard and confusing for girls that are still growing into their bodies to be told this is how you should look or act.

Vanna Gibson

I agree that the epidemic has created teenage loneliness. Most teenagers are use to being at school or doing activities with other teenagers most of their time that they are not home as much. To stop everything overnight not planning to ever step back outside your home was a shock to the fast moving world. There is a big percentage of teenager how did not know how to be alone or how to talk but to their classmates. That is where the next phase of just texting, social media, and video chat. They had to learn how to grow up, discover who they are from the heart of their bedroom. As Aliva has stated about Haidt and Jean’s research on smartphone taking effect on teenage. I agree, but disagree as the past there was a study done on video gamers. Those teenagers there is now adults who have made breakthrough in medical science, advance engineering, better technology, or even made tools to help with hand eye coordination. Come to think of us, even us as adults are on our phones just as much. It a way to feel connect to the world as we cannot physically do half of the time.

Elizabeth Micik

I really like Haidt and Twenge point about social media, particularly Instagram influencing young women. It does have an effect on them. I do agree and would add, young girls compare themselves to others, because they still don’t have a sense of self. Comparing themselves to people on social media and trying to achieve unrealistic goals because Instagram is full of filter photos could lead to low self-esteem. Though I agree with Haidt and Twenge on some points, I don’t agree that young people are lonelier. Though it may be true that a lot of us shouldn’t spend so much time on our phones, having it during COVID allowed us to interact with each others without contact. I know if my daughter had not had her phone during the pandemic, she would have probably been depressed due to not having anyone to talk to. It can be lonelier not having anyone. The phone and social media became an outlet for a lot of young people stuck at home.

Lamia shank

Haidt and twenages argue about how the phone affects mental health during the covid-19 pandemic.
My point is that smartphones have changed interaction with individuals. But I cannot deny the importance of smartphones in my life because it is an important way of communication.
Smartphones not only have a negative impact but can also serve a positive purpose in an individual’s life. It depends on how a smartphone is used. It should not be used all day for teenagers, parents need to Paye attention to the use of smartphones.

Tatiana Richardson

I also agree with Haidt and Jeans content. Today smartphones flat screen tv’s and laptops are the new normal. Most teens today would rather sit and scroll on their phone than sit and have a conversation face to face with each other. I believe the pandemic was the ice breaker to social media being the most popular event today. Covid-19 was the start of social media being the biggest part of our lives and it happened for so long that it’s something most people don’t even think about anymore. Smartphones are now teenagers comfort zone and how they express themselves and connect with others.

Hallie Shackleford

I agree with Haidt and Twenge’s claim that girls are vulnerable to negative mental health consequences from social media use. The evidence they give for this claim is that girls and young women experienced envy of the lives of others on the internet, even though those lives had been extremely edited. I agree with the claim, because women are more prone to comparing themselves to others and can pit themselves into loneliness because of this comparison. While not all girls use social media as intensely as others, the effect is still there because of outside sources such as advertisements.


The authors claim that smartphones are much harsher towards girls. Haidt and Twenge say, it "invited them to compare and despair as they scrolled through post from friends and strangers showing faces, bodies and lives that have been edited...". After doing extensive review of published research on social media, the authors came to the conclusion that those who consume a lot of social media have worse outcomes than those who consume little, especially for girls. I agree with this statement, as seeing the fake bodies online can create a false expectation of what we, as women, are supposed to look like. It can cause us to question ourselves and our body, and wish we were just like the ones that we see. I enjoyed Haidt and Twenge's point about how they will edit their pictures until they, "were closer to perfection than to reality". I may add that some influencers post about their celebrity lives, and show that their social life may be better than anyone else. This can also have an impact on females, as most have the urge to "fit in", and conform to the social norms of today's society.

Jessica Lee

Haidt and Twenge respond to their naysayers by stating that one powerful argument made by skeptics is that “The smartphones was adopted in many countries around the world at approximately the same time, so why aren’t teens in all of these countries experiencing more mental health issues the way Americans have been? Where’s the evidence for that”. The naysayer argument questions the plausibility of the claim that social media has a correlation to mental health issues and asks for evidence for these claims. The argument uses strategies from Chapter 6 by representing and entertaining the objections fairly. The two address that it is a difficult question to answer because there is no global survey before 2012, but then claiming that PISA has surveyed 15-year-old in multiple countries. The results of the study depicted that teenage loneliness rose dramatically in the six years after 2012. The tone they use is respectful and informative to their naysayer by addressing that their claims are logical and then explaining their study and the results they found and published in their own paper.


3. I agree that most teenage girls that have access to social media use tend to develop a decline in their mental health status. The major application that brings on these negative consequences is Instagram, which started rising to popularity around 2012. It gave teenage girls and young women the opportunity to “compare and despair” over posts that their friends, or even strangers, posted online for anyone and everyone to see (Haidt and Twenge 2021). Jonathan Haidt and Jean Twenge, psychologists studying social media effects, have come to believe that social media brings long term negative effects onto younger women since all they see online is bodies, faces, and everyday lives edited to the point that they look completely flawless than looking like a reality. An example of this would be teeangers developing body issues and doing whatever it takes to achieve a smaller waist, which has come to be the norm in modern society. The evidence accurately backs up the claim of young women and girls being largely affected by social media, which supports my agreement along with the claim more than before.
Haidt, Jonathan, and Jean Twenge. “Opinion | This Is Our Chance to Pull Teenagers Out of the Smartphone Trap.” The New York Times, 25 Aug. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/07/31/opinion/smartphone-iphone-social-media-isolation.html.

Alexander Cole DuLaney

2. They write a simple objection, and answer it as quickly as they can with their own study, though they do not write the objection formally. The tone for responding to the naysayers is answering a question that you where expecting to a friend.

Justin Wang

I agree with Haidt and Twenge’s claim on how smartphones are negatively impacting teenagers from Gen Z. It is of no surprise that social media and the advancement of technology have many positives, but on the other hand, also have many accompanying negatives. Social media and smartphone usage has begun to take over many people’s lives. I certainly agree that one negative side effect of increased smartphone usage would be the decreased social skills among individuals. Since individuals from Gen Z often communicate through smartphones, face-to-face contact has dwindled over the past decade. This social skill is crucial as communicating with others will play a huge part in one's life. An example of the need for satisfactory communication skills would be job or college interviews. If one does not know how to present oneself or speak in a compelling way, then the person may not achieve much in life. This is why in-person teenage interactions, not via screens, must be retained as social skills are beneficial for the future. Additionally, teenagers may start to feel isolated and have low self-esteem due to the increased usage of smartphones. Not only will this take a toll on communication skills, but one’s health will also suffer. Teenagers’ eyesight will start to worsen as well as their physical well-being. An increased amount of smartphone usage is linked to a decreased amount of physical exercise. Previously attending high school, it is evident that smartphones and social media have taken over as everyone is always looking down on their phones and not engaging in verbal conversations. I also agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse. Due to the mandatory lockdown, the majority of the population turned to their screens in order to keep themselves entertained. If society keeps up this trend of predominantly communicating through devices, crucial social skills will be lost.

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