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Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.

To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling.

There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.1970s, the photographer Bill Yates shot a series of portraits at the Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink in Tampa, Florida.

Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter.

But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever.

We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned.

Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear.

i Gen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the i Phone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the i Pad entered the scene, in 2010.

A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an i Phone.I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. Born between 19, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet.The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night.I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology.Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum.It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy.

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