From Generation Gap to Generation Chasm

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt says in an interview with the Wall Street Journal this past December 30 that Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, is in big trouble. Per the Journal article, “When you look at Americans born after 1995,” Mr. Haidt says, “what you find is that they have extraordinarily high rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide and fragility.” There has “never been a generation this depressed, anxious and fragile.”

Research by Haidt and others, shows that depression rates started to rise “all of a sudden” around 2013, “especially for teen girls,” and “By 2015 it’s an epidemic.” (WSJ notes that his data are available in an open-source document.)

Research by Haidt and others shows that the rate of clinical depression began rising around 2013, “especially for teen girls,” and by 2015 had become an epidemic. Per the Journal quoting Haidt, this is due to a “combination of social media and a culture that emphasizes victimhood.” 

This excerpt from the article summarizes Haidt’s explanation for why this has happened:


What happened in 2012, when the oldest Gen-Z babies were in their middle teens? That was the year Facebook acquired Instagram and young people flocked to the latter site. It was also “the beginning of the selfie era.” Apple’s iPhone 4, released in 2010, had the first front-facing camera, which was much improved in the iPhone 5, introduced two years later. Social media and selfies hit a generation that had led an overprotected childhood, in which the age at which children were allowed outside on their own by parents had risen from the norm of previous generations, 7 or 8, to between 10 and 12.


The article is well worth reading in its entirety. Here is the link:

About mediainmind

Education: BFA in Painting & Sculpture from California College of the Arts (Oakland); Executive MBA in Executive Management from the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University (Claremont); MA and PhD in Media Psychology from the Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara). Experience: Over 40 years experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations on the client and agency sides of the business; for-profit and nonprofit, as well as government. Special Expertise: The interface between human behavior and the media. It's all about "media in mind." View all posts by mediainmind

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: