Gen Z. The generation that consists of 6-24 year-olds and according to the Pew Research Center, “are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation,” and “are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet.” There seem to be many improvements with Gen Z, however, there are problems that plague this inventive generation. One of the most prominent being their addiction to smartphones.
According to Review42, “98% of Generation Z members own a smartphone.”, “55% of Generation Z use their smartphones for five or more hours daily. And more than a quarter (26%) are glued to their mobile devices for over 10 hours a day.” and “Almost a third (31%) of GenZers feel distressed if they can’t use their smartphones for half an hour or less.”
These statistics arise certain concerns when it has been proven that the overuse of technology and social media results in depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. According to RootsofLonliness.com, author and international speaker, Margie Warrell said, “We are having an epidemic of loneliness,” “As the quantity of our friendships online has gone up the quality and the depth of real friendships has eroded.” Teens turn to their smartphones as an escape, especially now when the world outside is at it’s bleakest. But allowing your teenager to turn to social media as an outlet, has many unintended consequences.
According to McLeanHospital.org, “When reviewing others’ social activity, people tend to make comparisons such as, ‘Did I get as many likes as someone else?, or ‘Why didn’t this person like my post, but this other person did?’ They’re searching for validation on the internet that serves as a replacement for meaningful connection they might otherwise make in real life.” When teens participate in this behavior, they place their happiness and self-worth in other people’s hands. Not only is this behavior self-deprecating, it slowly isolates them from other people. The internet starts becoming a priority over human connections, that is what we need to change.
If parents of teenagers were to monitor their child’s social media and technology use, we could expect a decrease in this behavior. According to Scanva.org, “Research says that monitoring your child’s activities is an important way to lower his or her chances of getting involved in situations you don’t approve of, especially those that can be harmful.”
Setting firm guidelines for your teen when it comes to social media and smartphone use is essential if we want to protect teenagers. Parents, I urge you to help my generation. Please make sure their well-being and safety is a priority.