We agree with Andrew Yang 2020:
"Somewhere between 2.1 and 2.5 billion humans currently own a smartphone. While early models were released as early as 1992, the first iPhone (a good line-in-the-sand for widespread adoption of the technology) was released in 2007. In a little over a decade, these machines have become ubiquitous throughout the world. In the USA, around 70% of adults have smartphones.
What about children? Research suggests 22% of young children, 60% of tweens, and 84% of teenagers currently use a smartphone.
While these devices provide unparalleled access to information, their impact on the mind is barely understood. Researchers are just beginning to look at the impact focusing on a screen all day has on human development, and the conclusions are devastating.
There has been an unprecedented surge in depression, anxiety, and suicide, and a marked decrease in sociability. Teenagers are spending more time worrying about whether their online acquaintances like their recent post than they are in person with their friends hanging out and developing social skills. The average teenager spends Friday nights at home, interacting with a machine, instead of out with friends at a game or event.
Those who have worked within the industry describe the work they’ve done in stark terms. Often relating apps to slot machines, they say that the smartest minds of a generation are spending their time getting teenagers to click on ads and obsess over social media posts to see how many acquaintances respond or react to their posts.
In short, many experts are worrying that the widespread adoption of a poorly understood technology have destroyed the psyches of a generation.
Smartphones are turning our kids into anxious and depressed zombies. Parents can’t compete – we need to help people take control and make smartphone use healthy and productive. Asking technology companies to regulate themselves is unfeasible – they will always want to maximize engagement regardless of the social impact. Government must provide guardrails to keep technology from corroding our mental and emotional well-being, particularly for young people. I love my smartphone too but we need to get a grip on the impact of this technology for the sake of our children."