Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t

A topic rich for TOK discuss. Seemingly all people have an opinion on the impact of smart phones on society so this topic pits intuition and personal experience against scientific investigation. This is one of the top comments that accompanies the article

I don’t care what the “academics” say. My experience as a teacher in the trenches tells a different story. One of the top reasons I retired early was cellphone addiction. All of the teachers on our campus was losing their minds because of them. My students turned into zombies. Between social media, video games, and porn, they showed zero interest in learning anything . Also, explain to me, after almost 30 years of teaching, I lost six senior girls in my last two years. Four of them my last year. All of the girls dropped out because of anxiety/depression. I have never seen anything like it in my career.

This raises article also raises questions about how we produce knowledge in the natural sciences, the role of an individual study, what high quality science is, the concept of a meta analysis, and questions about correlation vs. causation as well.

Ms. Twenge’s critics argue that her work found a correlation between the appearance of smartphones and a real rise in reports of mental health issues, but that it did not establish that phones were the cause.

It could, researchers argue, just as easily be that the rise in depression led teenagers to excessive phone use at a time when there were many other potential explanations for depression and anxiety. What’s more, anxiety and suicide rates appear not to have risen in large parts of Europe, where phones have also become more prevalent.

“Why else might American kids be anxious other than telephones?” Mr. Hancock said. “How about climate change? How about income inequality? How about more student debt? There are so many big giant structural issues that have a huge impact on us but are invisible and that we aren’t looking at.”

Here is a good short version of the same topic.

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615071/your-kids-phone-probably-isnt-making-them-depressed/


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