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Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling.Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter.
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.
The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now.
Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both.
I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. Born between 19, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet.
The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night.
It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy.