Lion of the Blogosphere

Smartphones are ruining Generation Z?

That Atlantic has some pretty good articles when they aren’t writing about how much they think that Donald Trump sucks (which unfortunately has become the majority of articles at every mainstream publication).

Back to smartphones: No one knows how this will end. But perhaps, what my generation (X) considered a normal childhood was not normal by the standards of all human history. Throughout most of human history, kids were put to work as soon as they were old enough. So they didn’t have that much social interaction with other children their age, they were busy working at the direction of their parents and extended family.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 7, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Technology

43 Responses

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  1. I will say, kids these days are into some weird shit. They will for example watch strangers playing video games online for hours and hours. They’re going to be different kind of people from generations born before the internet became everything.

    Two in the Bush

    August 7, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    • I don’t see that watching other people play videogames is fundamentally different from watching other people play conventional sports.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 7, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      • It is different because it’s not so much watching the gameplay as vicariously pretending they’re your friend and you’re playing/discussing the game together. Video gaming is a niche interest, whichever game you like is even more niche, and besides most gamers are socially-awkward introverts, so it’s tough to find real-life friends to play with.

        The much more closely analogous activity would be listening to sports talk radio.


        August 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      • The difference is not so much between what you watch but whether you are a consumer or a creator. The kids who watched sport usually also did a lot of sport outside which had some benefit. The kids who watch youtubers at most play video games, which is sedentary and addictive but with no real benefits. Some of them actually create mods and games, but those are the minority. The bottom line, be a creator not a consumer, this was right then and right now and technology didn’t change it.


        August 9, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    • When I was a kid and arcades still existed as a thing I would hang out there during family trips to the mall while my parents shopped for boring stuff. I would spend hours there looking over shoulders, watching others play the various games. I was never given much money to play myself and I wasn’t that good anyway. It was always much more fun watching others play who were much better than I ever would be. And the other kids never seemed to mind others watching them play.

      Andrew E.

      August 7, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    • Sounds like how kids used to follow radio shows…


      August 7, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    • it’s not so niche anymore. depending on what is played its pretty mainstream to the point where a very large number of guys do it, league of legends for example. it was pretty niche in the 90s. watching people play video games is pretty weird though, and usually the people who watch lots of lets play videos are very lonely, depressed types with literally nothing else to do.

      james n.s.w

      August 8, 2017 at 4:19 am

  2. Working is better then being enslaved by all these gadgets. Say you are a kid, so you go shepherd the flocks. You are out in the fresh air, with nature, animals and a Fw other people. Not bad. Or say you go fishing or hunting the whole day, not bad either. You ride horses, shoot bow and arrow, much better the watching the idiot box.

    Incidentally, some people are doing something about it. My grandaughter’s whole class has just signed up.

    I think people should only use smartphone for work. Unrestricted access to smart phones are death of culture and civilization.


    August 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    • A trend that cant continue will end one way other other.

      I predict the blue state civilization getting hollowed out and the traditional cultures and Benedictine Option communities being ascendant in 40 years.

      Lion o' the Turambar

      August 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

  3. Someone wrote an essay a while back (it could have been Paul Graham) arguing that youth/high school culture is a prison culture and fundamentally unnatural and sick. It seemed compelling to me.

    Watch the Amish. They educate the kids through 8th grade. Teenagers learn how to be responsible adults by working alongside and observing adults, not from the prison culture of high school. Kids take longer than ever to grow up now because they are kept in school longer than ever, away from the adult world.

    But I’m not sure if hanging out at a skating rink where kids drink and smoke is the best way to grow up to be a responsible adult, even if it does cause you to grow up faster. Or maybe it’s higher risk. I know two Gen X’ers who were given long leashes and exposed to a lot of bad behavior. One did fine and grew up to be a responsible adult; the other OD’d on drugs.

    It takes the article until the end to point out that the endless social media use is largely a female phenomenon. Boys/men will always be more inclined to actually do things (even if the “thing” is play video games) rather than socialize endlessly. That whole “being left out” thing — sure, boys worry about it, but women never seem to stop worrying about it. And video game culture matured much earlier than social media culture.


    August 7, 2017 at 4:26 pm

  4. Alarmist articles about how something is wrong with the youth of today have been popular since before any of us were born. They appeal to the conceit of older people as culture moves away from them and they start to feel less relavent. I’m saying this as a middle aged person, but these articles about whats wrong with the current youth generation get on my nerves.


    August 7, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    • This isn’t just ruining the younger generation, it affects everyone. Take a look around you on a subway, on a bus, in a restaurant and on the the street – all you see is smartphone addicted zombies. People’s ability to focus deteriorates.


      August 7, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      • I give a big thumbs up to smartphones for giving me something to do on subway rides. And when eating at restaurants with my parents who are very boring.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 7, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      • Now again you are pulling my leg, but anyhow.

        Smartphones are entertaining and nobody disputes that. However, when dining out with anyone, but especially with one’s parents, leaving the smartphone in the car would be a good idea.


        August 7, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      • In the 60s and 70s most people would read a newspaper while others would read a book on the subway. Aggressive, low-level blacks would blast a boombox.

        Lewis Medlock

        August 7, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      • In the 60s and 70s most people would read a newspaper while others would read a book on the subway.

        From Stanley Kubrick’s 1946 assignment as staff photographer with Look Magazine:

        Wade Nichols

        August 7, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      • Even back in 1946, people on public transportation looked at their own reading material and ignored their fellow travelers. But they wore hats.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 7, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      • A woman is standing and men are sitting. This wouldn’t happen in the USSR when I was growing up. Was America always thus way?


        August 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      • Wait! There are two women standing! This is a disgrace and an outrage. Lion, do you offer your seat to a woman on a subway?


        August 8, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      • Only if she’s pregnant.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 8, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      • You were always like that, or you changed later?


        August 8, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      • I am not aware that women have a harder time standing up than men.

        Don’t be such a white knight.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 8, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      • That’s how I was brought up. You weren’t? People my age I’m America weren’t?

        Of course when you start thinking about it rationaly, you can dis it, but it’s just so weird that all these guys with hats and ties are reading their stupid newspapers and women are standing. I’m not changing from my upbringing and teach all my grandkids to do the same.

        What about old people, do you offer them your seat? What’s old? Say 60+.


        August 8, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      • I think the extra courtesy to women is an English thing. German culture isn’t like that. NYC is probably more influenced by the German cultural standards. Southern USA culture is more English and more into polite forms of address and little minor courtesies.

        not too late

        August 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    • Yeah smartphones are great for when you’re stuck waiting somewhere. I realized just how bored I have been, most the time. Always stuck somewhere, waiting.

      So it seems most everyone else was bored too.

      Mrs Stitch

      August 7, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    • That doesn’t make the alarm invalid. The problem is usually that downsides of new phenomena are projected onto and even blamed on the youngest generation. Gen Z did not invent the smartphone. Smartphones affect all generations except for the truly senile. The middle aged just notice the dramatic changes of new technology in themselves, but project their concerns outwardly.

      I believe that smartphones and the internet undo some genuinely bad effects of the TV era. TV destroyed local culture and allowed for elites to reconstruct culture and beliefs in a top-down fashion, with no feedback loop. People even used to have very localized accents, tales, songs and traditions. Nazi Germany built the first TV system. It is an inherently totalitarian and stultifying technology.

      I’ve seen articles complaining how Gen Z is politically incorrect and reactionary. This is just the waning influence of TV. I’ve seen lamentations that there is no longer a “shared culture” because we no longer all watch the same shows on TV and discuss them the next day. Boomers want their Orwellian nightmare back.


      August 8, 2017 at 3:22 am

  5. I personally don’t like smartphones, but I can see their utility for limited uses. But using a smartphone too much can lead to problems. Hindrances include inattentiveness, lack of focus, poorer social skills, impatience, and the inability to appreciate what is around oneself. It’s also a good skill to be able to hold a conversation with other people, and to keep yourself entertained when nothing else is around. Just do real things in the real world.


    August 7, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    • Yeah, and let’s scrap automation altogether and bring back heavy-handed human labor. Let’s make America great again — more menial jobs for proles that ALSO pay a living wage.


      August 7, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    • i agree and don’t have a smartphone. internet is addictive enough without carrying it around in my pocket.


      August 7, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    • The fact is that modern social skills involve using the phone.


      August 8, 2017 at 12:39 am

    • Limited uses?

      It’s a camera for still images and video, its a pocket calculator, a navigation system, a map, an organizer, a calendar, a notebook, dictaphone, typewriter, stop watch, tuning fork and musical instrument tuner, it is a compass and a spirit level, magnifying glass, photo album, library, walkman, phone, answering machine, etc. Smartphones replace dozens of devices and paper based aids and they are cheaper than most of these things individually.

      So if you reject the smartphone, you must also reject all of the devices it replaced, or you’ve got no coherent case to make. Everybody would own smartphones even if the internet didn’t exist, which is what your critique is really targeted at.

      The smartphone actually reduced pernicious consumerism. Even toy sales are down. Smartphones are egalitarian.


      August 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm

  6. Just give the youth Adderall to fix their problems.


    August 7, 2017 at 10:08 pm

  7. What’s beyond stupid is watching some annoying person on Youtube, watching a TV show in order to watch their “reactions”. And people even donate money to them.

    Ronald McDonald

    August 7, 2017 at 10:35 pm

  8. I don’t understand why the writer blaims smartphones. All this had been possible when broadband came in early 2000’s. Kids could as well stay alone home with computer and chatrooms or messengers than with iPhone. There’s no difference between computer and smartphone if you stay in your room.


    August 8, 2017 at 4:06 am

    • I was going to make this remark as well. Kids were using AOL Instant Messenger 20 years ago.

      Smartphones are more pervasive though. I think there were probably a fair number of middle/upper-middle class teenagers who didn’t use AOL IM, or who had to use it on a shared family PC. Also, social media is used even by the working class and run-of-the-mill blacks. It’s much more visual. There is a large slice of the population that struggles to communicate in pure text but can do much better if it has photos and emojis to work with.


      August 8, 2017 at 8:14 am

  9. the biggest danger posed by smartphones / ubiquitous photography is the ultra importance it places on how you look. prior to the smartphone mounted camera (and before that, the digital camera) photographs of people were pretty rare. you might have a few photos of yourself taken every year or less. now photography is cheap and convenient enough that people can mass-produce airbrushed, filtered glam photos of themselves on a nearly daily basis. this creates a social need to be regularly appearing in photographs, especially with other people, to demonstrate social value, but also means that looks for both genders are becoming more and more important. look at the obsession with going to the gym, increasing number of guys wearing makeup (yes), etc. in late millenials/ gen Zers. ultra shallow.

    james n.s.w

    August 8, 2017 at 4:23 am

    • Before digital cameras and smartphones came along many families had only a couple dozen photographs (or less) that chronicled their lives. Mostly birthdays, graduations and family vacations.

      Lewis Medlock

      August 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      • My dad has thousands of slides.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      • i know, i was there at the tail end of the film camera era but i dont remember it that well. even just non smartphone digital cameras were less socially disrputive because they were harder to use and harder to upload pics with. the smartphone camera and the camera app (like instagram) provided selfies for the masses and have changed society and the value we place on looks.

        james n.s.w

        August 8, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    • Better that than a bunch of obese slugs shambling around.


      August 8, 2017 at 9:06 pm

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