by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Should Congress ban kids from owning smartphones? According to a Thursday night monologue, television firebrand Tucker Carlson thinks the answer is yes.
In his nightly speech, the Fox News host inveighed against the effect smartphones are having on adolescents, arguing that “smartphone use makes your kids sadder, slower, and more isolated, and over time can kill them.” …
… There is almost certainly something wrong with America’s teens. Data show that young people are increasingly at risk for depression, mental illness, and suicide. A survey of pediatric hospitals found that hospitalizations of 5- to 17-year-olds for suicidal ideation or attempts doubled between 2008 and 2015; the CDC’s research indicates that suicide has increased especially among teenage girls.
These increases go hand-in-hand with a decline in teen socialization. Forty-five percent of 12th graders now say that they never go on dates, compared to 14 percent as recently as the early 1990s. Teens are having less sex, a trend likely linked to rock-bottom teen abortion rates, but also indicating that teens spend less time on romance. Teens are even working less frequently than before, according to the Pew Research Center.
Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia who has written on the social implications of smartphones and screen time, told the Washington Free Beacon that the teen mental health crisis may be linked to the rise of smartphones.