Smartphones: the new teen mental health crisis?

Have smartphones destroyed a generation?” A new book out by a San Diego State University psychology professor argues that those born after 1995 are on the “brink of a mental-health crisis” — and she believes it can be linked to growing up with their noses pressed against a screen.

Her newest study, in the book “iGen,” provides more backing to that connection, showing that teens who spent more than an hour or two a day interacting with their gadgets were less happy on average than those who had more face time with others. The research was published today in Emotion, a journal by the American Psychological Association.

The study — which drew from a survey of hundreds of thousands of teens across the US — also found that roughly 13% of eighth- and tenth-graders who spent 1 to 2 hours a week on social media said they were “not happy.”

For those who responded 10 to 19 hours per week, that number was about 18%. For those who spent 40 or more hours a week using social media, that number approached 24%.

Study links social media use to isolation in young adults

By the twelfth grade, however, the negative correlations between screen time and teen psychology had somewhat dissipated. In addition, less is not always more: Teens with zero hours of screen time had higher rates of unhappiness than their peers who logged in a few hours a week.

The study comes two weeks after two major investors urged Apple to do more to combat iPhone addiction among young people.