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‘Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation’

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    Technology has developed to be a major part of today’s society. one in every of the main events within the technological world was the invention of the smartphone, especially the invention of the iPhone in 2007. With this device, information and tools became more accessible. Smartphones became extremely popular, and plenty of people, including myself, own one. I’ve had a smartphone since secondary school after having used a flip phone during my grade school years. lots of teens and young adults have had smartphones for ages, and there’s an ongoing debate regarding whether or not they are a positive or negative addition to their lives. Jean M. Twenge, author of two books and professor of psychology, leans toward the negative perspective of smartphones. Twenge presents this viewpoint against smartphones in her article titled “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The author’s use of the classical appeals of pathos, ethos, logos, and kairos effectively convince an older audience that phones have negatively affected post-Millennials, whereas the fallacies presented cause her argument to be ineffective toward a younger audience.

    Twenge’s tone is the simplest way she uses pathos in her argument. A major part of the article is reflecting on the past. Twenge writes about what teenage life used to seem like by describing an image taken of teens in 1970 who possessed “the self-confidence born of creating [their] own choices” (Twenge). This phrase implies a freedom that children had within the past, and this idealization of how things were adds a nostalgic tone to the piece. Older readers who were teens at the time described are reminded of the positive memories of their youth and are crammed with the identical nostalgia that Twenge is trying to convey. This provides a contrast to the lives of contemporary youth, who Twenge describes as “on their phone, in their room, alone and sometimes distressed” (Twenge). The shift from a positive tone describing the past to a negative tone describing the current makes the audience more likely to believe that teens now are worse off than teens within the past.

    Twenge, by mentioning phones within the same sentence she addresses isolation and negative emotions, associates smartphones with these feelings and makes an older audience more likely to believe that smartphones are the explanation the newer generation is suffering. While her pathos is robust for older readers, the presence of scare tactics and overly sentimental appeals make Twenge’s pathos ineffective for younger readers. When describing the state of current teens, a generation Twenge refers to as iGen, she asserts that they’re “on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades” (Twenge). The word “crisis,” without enough evidence to support it, seems to over-exaggerate this situation. While this language may spark concern in older readers, younger readers might not be as worried and examine it more as some way to scare readers into believing smartphones are a danger. Furthermore, younger readers may view the outline of other generations differently. The nostalgic tone throughout the outline of the lives of past teens may resonate with older readers who were a component of these generations. However, a younger audience is unable to relate, and also the tone may appear overly sentimental instead.

    The pathos is targeted toward an older audience, and while it effectively does so, younger readers can see the fallacies within the argument and will remain unconvinced. . Twenge’s background on researching the topic and her primary source are her best uses of ethos. As stated earlier on within the article, Twenge had “been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when [she] was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology” (Twenge). Since the idea of her argument involves how this generation differs from previous generations that didn’t possess technology, her background in analyzing such differences makes her argument more credible. together with her history of research, Twenge uses testimony from a thirteen-year-old child, referenced within the article as Athena, who has “had an iPhone since she was 11” (Twenge). because the primary topic of argument is that the effect smartphones wear this generation of youngsters and youths, having the angle of somebody during this generation who uses a smartphone herself enhances Twenge’s credibility and knowledge on the topic.

    Thanks to credibility brought by both Twenge and Athena, readers of the article are more likely to be convinced of Twenge’s claim that phones are the explanation for a crisis for teens. However, younger readers are less likely to be convinced by Twenge’s article thanks to the moral fallacy of stacking the deck. Though Athena adds credibility to a degree, she also detracts from it. Athena uses “we” to reference her generation as a full, like when she states, “we like our phones over we like actual people” (Twenge). A younger audience immersed in Athena’s generation might even see this statement as one-sided since many of those readers might not have the identical viewpoint as Athena and will pain her statement about their generation. Twenge’s stacking the deck allows her to bolster her argument by selectively highlighting one person’s view of the entire generation, but this could not be effective in getting a younger audience to believe her claims thanks to their own viewpoints and experiences.

    The specific inartistic proofs Twenge uses are effective samples of logos, and her analogy-based logic further improves her argument for an older audience. Within the middle of her article, Twenge includes graphs representing results from a survey by the National Institute on misuse. As seen from the info, rates of activities within the lives of teens that Twenge views positively, like hanging out with friends and driving, began declining round the time that the iPhone was released in 2007, whereas rates of loneliness and lack of sleep begin increasing (Twenge). The occurrence of those trends around the iPhone helps convince readers of what Twenge is arguing: that smartphones are negatively affecting post-Millennials. The contrast of this data with data of previous generations also aids Twenge’s argument. For instance, she highlights the various social lifetime of current teens therewith of previous ones by stating that “about 56 percent of high-school seniors in 2015 went out on dates; for Boomers and Gen Xers, the amount was about 85 percent” (Twenge). Older readers might not initially understand the present state of teens because they themselves don’t seem to be in this generation; however, seeing how the present generation compares to theirs makes them more likely to conclude that smartphones have harmed teens.

    While Twenge presents ample data, her analysis of it contains the fallacies of hasty generalization and non-sequitur, leaving a younger audience less convinced. When discussing a major increase in depression and suicide in teens since 2011, Twenge claims that “much of this deterioration may be traced to their phones,” yet she later mentions that “the teen suicide rate was even higher within the 1990s, long before smartphones existed” (Twenge). This second statement invalidates her initial claim that smartphones are the reason for low psychological state, making her argument logically disconnected. She compliments her first claim with another that, in their free time, teens “are on their phone, in their room, alone and sometimes distressed” (Twenge). Younger readers may view this as hasty generalization because, being an element of the generation Twenge is speaking about, they know teenagers do many other things in their free time than what Twenge describes. Twenge provides no database evidence to prove her point about free time, whereas a younger audience encompasses a first-hand experience that her inference that teens are alone on their phones isn’t true altogether. These readers, thanks to their personal experience, can see the logical fallacies of Twenge’s argument, making it less effective for them.

    Twenge’s use of kairos relates to the inartistic proofs she uses, making her logos more practical for an older audience but having no effect on a younger audience. When introducing the generational changes she had studied, Twenge mentions that she “presumed [the changes] can be blips, but the trends persisted, across several years and a series of national surveys” (Twenge). This adds to the reliability of her logos since she waited to put in writing this text once she knew the knowledge she was presenting was consistent. Since her logos appeals more to an older audience, her kairos may further. On the other hand, since Twenge’s logos is a smaller amount effective for a younger audience, this kairos might not improve her argument for them. Twenge argues about the negative effect smartphones wear the present generation in her article, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” To convince audiences of her viewpoint, she uses pathos, ethos, logos, and kairos. These classical appeals are effective toward an older audience. In using them, certain fallacies arise that cause the appeals to be ineffective toward a younger audience.

    The nostalgic tone Twenge uses to explain past generations and therefore the shift to a negative tone when describing the present generation are more likely to convince older readers of her argument, whereas younger readers may view the nostalgic tone as overly sentimental and therefore the negative tone as a scare tactic, causing the pathos to be less effective. She effectively uses ethos to appeal to an older audience through her background on generational changes and through Athena’s perspective as someone within the current generation with smartphones, though Athena’s limited perspective will be seen by a younger audience as stacking the deck. The author provides inartistic proofs which will be convincing, but a number of her conclusions contain the fallacies of hasty generalization and non-sequitur. While her use of kairos can boost the effectiveness of her logos for an older audience, it should not improve the effectiveness for a younger audience. Though Twenge believes smartphones are harmful toward kids and teenagers, they will not be convinced by her argument because it appeals more to an older audience. As a result, they will not feel the necessity to limit their phone use. However, older generations, appealed to more by Twenge’s argument, are also convinced of Twenge’s view on smartphones and should set guidelines for his or her kids.

    Works Cited

    1. Twenge, Jean M. “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, Sep. 2017,
    2. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/.

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    ‘Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation’. (2022, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/have-smartphones-destroyed-a-generation/

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