A look at the generation born from 1995 to 2012 -- the smartphone generation

One of the best things I read this week was in The Atlantic. It's from someone who has researched trends in kids and teens for 25 years. Historically, the chart of most patterns was steady, with minor peaks and valleys but steady change over time.

"Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so," writes Jean Twenge.
"Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data-some reaching back to the 1930s-I had never seen anything like it."

It's a portrait of how young people are increasingly depressed, lonely, sleep-deprived and medicated. Worse yet, social networks are looking to exploit it.

A recently leaked Facebook document indicated that the company had been touting to advertisers its ability to determine teens' emotional state based on their on-site behavior, and even to pinpoint "moments when young people need a confidence boost." Facebook acknowledged that the document was real, but denied that it offers "tools to target people based on their emotional state."

I think what's even scarier than this article is that it's not just kids staring at their cellphones for hours a day.