The train is barreling precipitously down the track and we’re all spectators unable to stop it.
We’re watching a generation move up through the ranks, the teenagers of today, that is unlike any humans that came before them.
They have nothing in common with their slightly older millennial siblings.
Blame it on their i-Phones and the introduction of social media, striking at the same moment as their turn on stage.
University of San Diego psychology professor Jean Twenge has been studying the traits of generations since she was in grad school, coining the term “I-Gen” to capture the impact constant connectivity is having on today’s teens. “The smartphone is one of the keys in explaining why they are so different than millennials. For example, their mental health has really trended downwards, starting in 2012,” she says in an interview with CBS TV.
Rates of depression and suicide are skyrocketing. Twenge says the mental health crisis coming is unparalleled. They are in constant contact, but their ability to relate and engage with others in person is declining.
Some of the traits of teens today: They hang out with their parents. They aren’t rebellious. They delay getting driver’s licenses because their parents take them where they want to go. Cautious, thoughtful, they are markedly less likely to get into a car accident than older cousins. They don’t get summer jobs, because they don’t need them: their parents are raising them generously. Raised without war and during economic expansion, they are the safest generation ever and have never known hardships.
The impact they will have on American workforces when they come of age can only be imagined.
Hopefully businesses will be prepared to meet their mental and emotional needs.