137: iGen

Photo by Janet Allison


Baby Boomers. Gen X. Millennials. And now, iGen.

According to psychology professor Jean Twenge, the members of iGen include the children and young adults born between 1995 and 2012. And what sets these kids apart from previous generations, she says, is their near-constant connection to the Internet.

Theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and concomitant rise of social media…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.

Compared to previous generations, Twenge says, members of iGen are:

  • Less independent
  • Less eager to drive
  • Less likely to socialize in person
  • Less likely to work
  • Less likely to get seven hours of sleep per night
  • More likely to report anxiety and depression

That list is enough to give any parent or teacher palpitations! But is it a fair depiction of today’s youth? Are “kids today” really that different from their parents and grandparents — and that unprepared for adult life? And if so, are smartphones really the culprit? And if so, what do we do about it?

If you’re parenting or teaching iGen, you’re gonna want to listen to this episode!

In this episode, Jen & Janet discuss:
  • Intra-generational gaps within iGen
  • The 10 important trends shaping iGen
  • How constant connectivity can increase anxiety
  • The “Wait ’til 8th” movement
  • How parents can give their kids a break from tech
  • Why technology might not be to blame for all of these problems
  • The power of board games and playing cards
  • How to encourage free play and tactile exploration in the digital age
  • Why we should expect the best
Links we mentioned (or should have) in Episode 137:

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of UsTwenge’s latest book

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?Atlantic article by Jean Twenge, adapted from iGen

What the Times Got Wrong About Kids and Phones — Columbia Journalism Review article

Episode 106: Screens & Boys

The Big Myth of Teenage Anxiety: Relax – The Digital Age is Not Wrecking Your Kid’s BrainNYT article by psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman

Is Screen Time Really All That Bad? – Building Boys post by Jen