Despite generational differences, we're all pretty similar. We value things like independence, romantic relationships, and freedom. Well, except for the iGen—kids born between 1995 and 2012—who are experiencing a generational shift largely unprecedented in the past century, the Atlantic reports in a worrying look at the first generation of Americans to grow up with the internet at their fingertips 24/7. "It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades," the Atlantic states. Teen depression and suicide rates have been spiking since 2011, and much of the blame can be laid at the feet of smartphones and social media, which have led the iGen to have "radically different" daily experiences than people just a few years older.
"I think we like our phones more than we like actual people,” one 11-year-old girl—who plans to spend most of her summer vacation in her room on her phone—says of her generation. High-school seniors in 2015 were less likely to leave the house without their parents than were eighth-graders in 2009. Only about 56% of those same high-school seniors went out on dates—down from about 85% in previous generations. The number of teens who physically hang out with friends daily dropped more than 40% from 2000 to 2015. And while the iGen is physically safer than previous generations of teens (it's hard to get hurt while looking at your phone in bed), they're also "seriously unhappy." Read the full, fascinating story here for explanations of why that could be, including smartphone-induced sleep deprivation and FOMO. (Read more Longform stories.)