book i've read


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 Us)


Jean M. Twenge, PhD


Social Science

Year of issue




What's it about?

Analyzes traits about the generation born between 1995-2014. Draws a stunning connection between the rise of social media screen time and skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. Articulates how most of iGen’s personality traits revolve around a preoccupation with safety: physical & emotional.

who should read it?

If you are a member of iGen, as I am, you may find answers to why you feel the way you do about certain aspects of your life. If you are a business owner looking to understand the crop of young people entering your company as employees, the book is pretty helpful for understanding what kinds of leadership strategies will help motivate and retain your staff.

how the book changed me

Finally helped me connect the dots as to why, as a teenager, I suffered from excessive suicidal ideation despite having a reasonably stable home life, access to opportunity and decently socialized. It was directly related to the amount of screentime I was allowing myself. Was surprised a somewht libertarian inclination to iGen, although, they do lean majority socialist, which isn’t promising. There’s also a general distrust of institutions, which I was beginning to think was just me.


Athena, 13, thinks that today's kids are missing out on experiences that develop their social skills. "We grew up with iphones," she says. "We don't know how to communicate like normal people and look people in the eye and talk to them." Her middle school drama teacher tells students "put your phone in the box, we're learning to look people in the eye." Athena thinks that phones have affected teen speech as well: "Sometimes, it makes us, like, aliens. We don't know how to talk to people any more."

A headline grabbing 2015 poll found that 18-to-24 year olds were more likely to hold a favorable view of socialism than of capitalism (58% approced of socialism and 56% of capitalism). iGeners and Millenials support for Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, seems to confirm their comfort with the concept. Several observers theorized that this is because young people don't know what "socialism" means--when asked instead if they favor a "government managed economy" (a definition of socialism), only 32% said yes.

The link between screen time and mental health issues is distressingly clear: teens who spend more than 3 hours a day on electronic devices are 35% more likely to have at least one suicide risk factor. That's much more than the risk related to TV watching, suggesting that it's not just screens but new media such as smartphones, games and scoial media that are behind the link... so how much screen time is too much? Risks start to increase with screen time of 2 hours or more per day & go up from there, with very high levels of use (5 or more hours) linked to considerably higher risks of suicide and unhappiness.