Instagram, Snapchat and others have a business model based on addiction. This is not how we want to be raising our children.
I’ll admit I was a slow-follower when the iPhone launched ten years ago. I was suspicious of Apple’s intent — I was not fan of its closed, vertically integrated model — and the market’s infatuation with apps felt like a fad that would ultimately fade. When I finally did get an iPhone, I felt complicit in the what amounted to internet climate change: slowly but surely, our new addictions were bound to swamp all that we had worked so hard to build on the open web. As Tristan Harris and many others have pointed out, the economic incentives driving our mobile landscape (in short: advertising) are based fundamentally on the science of addiction, and addicted we certainly are.
And as we’ve learned from tobacco and processed foods, an industry based on addiction preys on the young.
In what I hope will be a landmark piece in the Atlantic, social scientist Jean M. Twenge, who has studied generational differences for decades, concludes that the first generation of teenagers to grow up with a smartphone in their hands is demonstrating wildly different patterns from any group she’s previously researched. And those patterns are not good.Read More