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被智能手机征服的Z世代:幸福感低,不喜欢工作和性生活

David Z. Morris 2017年08月08日

在社交媒体和其他“屏幕”活动上的时间增多,与幸福感下降和孤独感、抑郁程度、自杀风险升高之间,有着密切的关系。

相比前几代人,今天的青少年得到了更多保护,但也更缺乏独立性,而这种转变与2012年左右智能手机的流行几乎同时出现。千禧后一代不再愿意与朋友外出,或者想方设法摆脱父母,而是喜欢宅在家里,在Snapchat上聊天,这让他们的幸福感更低。

社会心理学家珍·特文格为《大西洋》月刊统计的数据值得警惕。在没有父母陪同的时候,与2009年的八年级学生相比,今天的12年级学生走出家门的时间更少。2015年,只有56%的高中毕业班学生曾经约会,而X一代和婴儿潮一代的这一比例为85%。2000年至2015年期间,每天与朋友在一起的青少年人数减少了40%。

今天的青少年工作时间也少于前辈。虽然大衰退对就业的影响已经消退,但今天的高中毕业班学生,只有55%在学校上学期间打工,而在上世纪70年代末,这一比例为77%。另外,他们更少开车,出行主要依靠父母。他们的性生活更少,开始性生活的年龄更晚。

当然,许多家长肯定会长舒一口气,因为他们的孩子不再在外面痛饮狂欢,而且这还带来了青少年怀孕率下降等积极的副作用。但青少年的孤立却产生了可怕的后果——特文格表示,青少年抑郁率和自杀率之高,意味着Z一代面临着“数十年来最为严重的心理健康危机”。

特文格表示,证明这个问题与智能手机的关系的证据“再清楚不过”。调查发现,在社交媒体和其他“屏幕”活动上的时间增多,与幸福感下降和孤独感、抑郁程度、自杀风险升高之间,有着密切的关系。特文格将社交媒体的伤害,归因于互联网上所谓的“错失焦虑症”(FOMO),即担心错过其他人似乎都在享受的乐趣。网络霸凌也是一个主要原因。

特文格认为,这些后果将对青少年产生长期的影响。青春期抑郁症在成年后更有可能复发,而且随着年龄的增长,社交技能的培养会变得越来越难。

幸运的是,特文格为此开出的“处方”非常温和。只要每天将使用电子设备的时间控制在两个小时以内,便可以缓解电子设备的一些最严重的影响。家长强制执行这个适度的边界,可以给孩子带来巨大的帮助。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

Today’s teenagers are more sheltered and less independent than previous generations, and the shifts correspond with the mainstreaming of smartphones around 2012. Instead of going out with friends and looking for every chance to get away from their parents, the post-Millennial generation is staying in and Snapchatting—and it’s making them less happy.

The statistics, as outlined by social psychologist Jean Twenge for The Atlantic, are alarming. Today’s twelfth graders spend less time out of the house without their parents than eighth graders did in 2009. Only 56% of high school seniors dated in 2015, compared to 85% for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. The number of teens who spend daily time with friends dropped by 40% between 2000 and 2015.

Today’s teenagers are also working less than their predecessors. The employment effects of the Great Recession have faded, but only 55% of today’s high school seniors have jobs when school is in session, compared to 77% during the late 1970s. They’re driving less, and depending on parents for rides. They’re having less sex, and having it later.

Of course, many parents might heave a sigh of relief that their kids aren’t out carousing, and some side-effects, like a drop in teen pregnancies, are positive. But teenagers’ isolation has a dire cost—rates of depression and suicide so high Twenge says members of Generation Z are “on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.”

Twenge says the evidence linking the problem to smartphones “could not be clearer.” Surveys have found that spending more time on social media and other “screen” activities correlates strongly with lower levels of happiness, and higher feelings of loneliness, levels of depression, and risk of suicide. Twenge attributes much of the harm of social media to what the internet knows as “FOMO,” or fear of missing out on the fun everyone else seems to be having. Cyberbullying is also a major culprit.

The consequences for these kids, Twenge says, will be long-term. Adolescent depression is more likely to recur in adulthood, and social skills become harder to develop as we age.

Luckily, Twenge’s prescription is fairly modest. Some of the worst effects of electronic devices seem to be mitigated when they’re used less than two hours a day. Parents who enforce that moderate boundary might end up helping their kids immensely.

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