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    This is your kid on smartphones

    enJune 03, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Summer music ethics, mental health, technologySummer brings new music, ethical dilemmas for journalists, mental health concerns for young people, and discussions on technology's impact. Billy Eilish and Charlie Puth's releases are under scrutiny, while journalists face ethics questions. Mental health issues rise, linked to smartphones and social media, particularly affecting girls. Over 90% of young people have phones, over 70% smartphones.

      Summertime brings new music and ethical dilemmas for journalists, mental health concerns for young people, and discussions on the impact of technology. Regarding summer hits, Billy Eilish and Charlie Puth's new releases are under the spotlight. Journalists like Preet Bharara grapple with the ethics of reporting on tragedy, raising questions about exploitation and morality. Meanwhile, mental health issues among young people are on the rise, with anxiety, depression, and suicide becoming increasingly common. Research suggests that smartphones and social media are major contributors to these negative trends. In the case of girls, social media's promise of connection often fails to deliver, leading to feelings of isolation and aggression. As for technology usage, the percentage of young people with smartphones has significantly increased, with over 90% having a phone and over 70% having a smartphone. These trends underscore the importance of addressing the challenges facing both the music industry and young people in today's digital age.

    • Smartphone use and mental healthSmartphone use during formative years contributes to increased rates of depression and anxiety, particularly for girls, with a causal relationship suggested by correlational, longitudinal, and experimental studies.

      The widespread use of smartphones and social media among young people, particularly during their formative years, is contributing to increased rates of depression and anxiety. This is not a mono-causal issue, but rather a complex interaction between the loss of play-based childhood experiences and the arrival of phone-based childhoods. While there is ongoing debate about the strength of the evidence, there is a growing body of research that suggests a causal relationship, including correlational studies, longitudinal studies, and experimental studies. The effects are often more pronounced for girls, and the relationship between screen time and mental health issues is generally linear. Skeptics may argue that the evidence is not definitive, but there is now a significant amount of causal evidence from experiments alone. The correlation between smartphone use and mental health issues may be small when looking at the population as a whole, but the impact can be substantial for individuals.

    • Social media impact on girls' mental healthCritics underestimate the impact of social media on girls' mental health due to small percentage of overall variation in happiness attributed to it, but social media use leads to higher rates of depression and hinders neural development.

      Social media use among girls, particularly during their formative years, has a significant impact on their mental health, with correlations equivalent to binge drinking and heavy drug use. However, the variance explained by these correlations is often misunderstood. Critics argue that since only a small percentage of the overall variation in happiness can be attributed to social media use, it must not have a large effect in real life. However, this perspective overlooks the limitations of the measurement tools used and the fact that social media use can lead to higher rates of depression, as evidenced by odds ratios. The shift from play-based childhoods to phone-based ones is a major concern, as screens provide instant gratification and can hinder the neural development that comes from interacting with the physical and social world. Ultimately, the effects of social media on children's mental health are a complex issue that requires further research and consideration.

    • Loss of essential experiences and skillsExcessive use of technology can lead to a loss of valuable experiences and skills, including building communities and developing essential skills like communication and social interaction.

      Technology, while making life easier in many ways, can also lead to a loss of essential experiences and skills. NetSuite, Bombas, and Tuilera offer solutions to streamline business operations, improve comfort, and enhance style, respectively, all while potentially saving costs. However, the excessive use of technology can rob us of valuable experiences, such as building communities and developing essential skills like communication and social interaction. The ease of access to information and connections can lead to a sense of meaninglessness, loneliness, and anxiety. It's crucial to strike a balance between leveraging technology and engaging in real-world experiences.

    • Social Media Impact on Children's Mental HealthSocial media use among children has contributed to increased anxiety and emotional distress, replacing natural social interactions with constant performativity and brand management, potentially leading to the valorization of mental illness.

      The widespread use of smartphones and social media among children has led to a significant shift in their social interactions. These technologies, while offering convenience and safety, have also contributed to increased anxiety and emotional distress. The normal sounds of laughter and conversation between classes have been replaced by silence. The constant performativity and brand management on social media platforms can be emotionally destructive, especially for kids who need low-cost situations to make mistakes and learn from them. The argument that mental health issues are more openly discussed today doesn't fully explain the situation, as the numbers of reported cases have been rising despite the decrease in stigma. Instead, mental illness may be becoming valorized, which is not desirable for children. While it's important to consider reverse correlations and other potential explanations, the evidence suggests that social media use is a significant contributing factor to the rise in mental health issues among kids.

    • Impact of Digital Technology on ChildhoodDigital technology negatively affects childhood, leading to passive behavior and disconnection from the physical world. Implementing norms like no smartphones before high school and more free play can help children have a healthier relationship with technology.

      Digital technology, particularly smartphones and social media, have negative effects on our mental well-being and amplify social and psychological pathologies. McLuhan's idea that "the medium is the message" applies here, as the shift from 2010 to 2015 brought significant changes to childhood, with kids becoming more passive and less connected to the physical world. To address these issues, Hite suggests implementing norms such as no smartphones before high school, no social media till 16, phone-free schools, and more independence and free play for children. By following these norms, we can help children have a healthier relationship with technology and enjoy a fun, rooted childhood.

    • Going phone-free in schoolsGoing phone-free in schools can lead to increased fun, decreased discipline problems, bullying, and violence, improved mental health, and a healthier and more engaged student body within weeks.

      Going phone-free in schools can lead to significant improvements in various aspects of school life. These improvements include increased laughter and fun, decreased discipline problems, bullying, and violence. The benefits of this policy are evident within weeks and can help address mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness at a low cost. Despite potential concerns, such as school shooters, security experts suggest that it's crucial for students to follow safety protocols during emergencies. The speaker is optimistic about the institutional and collective will to implement this change and believes it can be achieved within a few years. The potential benefits of limiting phone use in schools far outweigh the costs and can lead to a healthier and more engaged student body.

    • Open-mindedness and critical thinkingEngage in thoughtful dialogue and debate, seek out diverse viewpoints, be receptive to feedback, support quality journalism, and engage with the show.

      Importance of open-mindedness and critical thinking when evaluating different perspectives. The speakers acknowledged that they may not have all the answers and encouraged listeners to engage in thoughtful dialogue and debate. They also emphasized the importance of seeking out diverse viewpoints and being receptive to feedback. The speakers also mentioned the importance of supporting quality journalism to ensure that important discussions continue to be had. Lastly, they reminded listeners to engage with the show by leaving reviews, ratings, and sending in their thoughts or questions.

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