The essay posted on The Atlantic by Jean M. Twenge can be rhetorically analyzed as an interestingly compelling argument concerning the ongoing cultural topic of teens and smartphones being a crisis to Society. The main claim of the entire essay is that smartphones are changing the lives of teenagers, socially and mentally, at a dramatic, alarming rate. According to the author herself, “The correlations between depression and smartphone use is strong enough to suggest that more parents should be telling their kids to put down their phone.” The qualifiers in the essay are One can assume that the possible exceptions to this essay are people who are completely anti-technology or those who are incapable of using or understanding it. Both qualifiers and exceptions are decently effective because even though they are quite obvious to see from just looking at the title, they are used profoundly throughout the essay during each point of interest.
Twenge’s essay focuses on personal experiences that she and a couple of friends have with the damaging effects of smartphone technology while providing some reasons for her claim in the form of surprising information plus historical comparisons mainly because she wishes to send as convincing of a message as possible to any smartphone users worldwide that they can be too dangerous for us and especially the younger generation. The difference between this essay Fox 2 and most others that revolve around the topic is Twenge’s own spin or analysis on the “iGen” teenagers and all sorts of statistics from various times that coincide with the claim she has. The majority of the reasons defending the claim has to do with the first half of the problem: teenagers. One of the biggest points brought up in the essay is that because of smartphones, teenagers are constantly dealing with the absolutely worst mental health crisis in decades. One piece of evidence supporting this is how in the article, Twenge mentions how the rate of both Depression and Suicide have consistently skyrocketed ever since the 90s, onto 2011, and now the rate of teenagers leaning into a risk of social, mental, emotional illness is all still going up at a slow speed, but a dangerous rise, regardless.
Not even the rate of antidepressants being taken in the United States compares to the big factor of psychological distress that teenangers are experiencing from the unhappiness or aforementioned danger smartphones have. This naturally brings any reader reading this article to the next reason: social media and other somewhat disorienting social health attackers are bringing teenagers down to the point of complete isolation in the worst way possible because they are practically soul-glued to the screen or social media account they are using until they go insane, become too stone-cold or distant for their own good, or worse. Some evidence that proves this fact is how teens never go to parties or talk to any of their friends or family members without using some kind of chat system anymore or how teenagers get little to no sleep or time to complete important tasks that their very own futures could heavily rely on. In addition to this, Twenge once asked students at San Diego State University what they do with their phone before, during, or after they go to sleep and the results were that their phones were usually the first, last, and most common thing they all see in their Fox 3 day, like a drug addiction, body extension, or a lover of some kind, which further proves that the degenerative nature is in fact a real threat. Finally, the third reason that defends the initial claim is just what the future for any teenagers unfathomably obsessed with smartphones will have in store.
Evidence of this is a few other points Twenge brings up near the end of the entire essay. She has found that it’s not only the adolescence stage that’s in trouble but the adulthood of these teenagers is in peril as well and this obsession of smartphones or other addictive habits done or originated from excessive use of all mobile devices will continuously affect them forever. Adolescence is a key time for developing social skills, so as teens spend less time with their friends face-to-face, they have fewer opportunities to make the most of their lives or maybe become so hopeless that they can’t or won’t even do anything to remotely progress into the next phases of life like everyone else should. Within the next decade or so, there is a good chance that we will soon see more adults who always know just the exactly fitting emoji for a situation in a text message, but they will not ever know the right facial expression to have for a proper conversation. There is actually a warrant to all of these reasons that can be found here and that warrant is the simple fact that teenagers, in today’s day and age, behave completely different and unpredictable more than ever before in human history, mostly because of every single existant or even non-existent forms of Technology.
Whether it’s smartphones, laptops, television sets, game consoles, video making technology, or other forms of technology, it’s a constantly evolving generational change that will continue to increase in demand, supply, popularity, usage, and in the number of teenagers becoming addicted to it because of how persuasive all the options each device is to anybody. Fox 4 Of course, even with all there is to learn from Twenge, there’s still a lot more to study off of this essay other than just the argument at hand and what it teaches readers and there are still some refutations to be found in this essay and they do strengthen the claim by a substantial amount because they add small necessary details into the reasons that stand by the claim. For example, the advent of both smartphones and tablets were swiftly and rapidly followed up by hand-wringing about the various bodily effects of “screen time”, which apparently goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans.
Which further proves how too much screen time in certain scenarios, or all of them, is dangerous for mental health in teenagers. Another bit of supporting evidence is how some surveys of technology’s appeal to the younger generation have shown that the major shifts in teenage behavior due to smartphones didn’t actually start until sometime 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 wilting economy, when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent. This supports the earlier takes on the origins of the smartphone disorder that Twenge is elaborating on by taking readers back to a moment when the disorder spiked. One last notable instance is how smartphones affect teenagers that have jobs to work in. In the earlier times of Society, kids at the teenage age worked in great numbers, eager to finance their freedom or were sometimes prodded or disciplined by their parents to learn the value of a dollar.
Nowadays, “iGen” teens aren’t working or sorting out their own money as much as they should be probably because of smartphones, proving the point in how smartphones socially and futuristically affect teenagers and up almost endlessly. Fox 5 There are many, many more refutations, but they are not as strong as the few above are, so from the perspective of a reader, one can definitely notice how these extra, factual jabs at smartphones complete the argument of this essay. They strengthen Twenge’s argument by giving us an important impression that creates the entire point of the argument, or better yet, the argument itself: Kids or Teens should not be so easily accustomed to All that is up for discussion after this would probably be any gripes from other readers or authors and maybe discussions on just what this argumentative essay is, outside of a rhetorical aspect, but we’re not here for that. With all of this in mind, said, and done, now is the time to go over the few weaknesses this argument has.
The very end of the essay is easily the biggest one because it just mentions Twenge and her friend talking about volleyball right after what sounded like her conclusion paragraph right before this tibet. There is no rhyme or reason for the extra ending to be there and it just sounded like it was unfinished and then accidently posted, from a reader’s perspective at least. Other than that, this is definitely a sound argument filled to the brim with multiple instances, all personal, factual, and historical, to back up the main claim Twenge wanted to make clear to all eyes that will see this essay: Smartphones are changing the lives of teenagers, socially and mentally, at a dramatic, alarming rate. Plus, “The correlations between depression and smartphone use is strong enough to suggest that more parents should be telling their kids to put down their phone.” Everything that this analysis goes over is a driving force for Twenge’s eternal debate between her findings along with her understandable opinions and the seemingly smartphone driven world that we live in and as far as this reader’s concerned, that duty is done. Here’s to a hopefully more controlled and responsible future for teenagers and young adults!