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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.

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