Today’s teenagers are more sheltered and less independent than previous generations, and the shifts correspond with the mainstreaming of smartphones around 2012. Instead of going out with friends and looking for every chance to get away from their parents, the post-Millennial generation is staying in and Snapchatting—and it’s making them less happy.
The statistics, as outlined by social psychologist Jean Twenge for The Atlantic, are alarming. Today’s twelfth graders spend less time out of the house without their parents than eighth graders did in 2009. Only 56% of high school seniors dated in 2015, compared to 85% for Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.