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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers

The podcast designed to speak encouragement and truth into the minds and hearts of educators, and get you informed and energized for the week ahead.
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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
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Now displaying: Page 1
Feb 18, 2024

There has been a significant increase in mental health issues among young people in America since 2012, including anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide attempts, and suicide. Contrary to popular belief, these trends started before the pandemic, with rates of major depression among teens doubling between 2011 and 2019. Girls and young women are more likely to experience these issues, and the gender gap has been widening.

The introduction of smartphones and social media around 2012 is believed to be a major factor in the decline of mental wellbeing, as it has led to less face-to-face interaction, increased sleep deprivation, and constant exposure to social media.

Dr. Jean Twenge has conducted extensive research in this area. She’s a renowned psychologist and scholar who specializes in generational differences and technology based on a dataset of 39 million people, and has published more than 180 articles and books.

In our conversation, Jean emphasizes the need for conversations about healthy phone and screen habits, as well as the importance of setting clear rules and boundaries for phone use.

We talk extensively about getting student and parent buy-in around Jean’s recommendation that cell phones be banned in school from bell-to-bell, including during lunch time and breaks. Jean asserts that the research supports this policy, and emphasizes that it should be school-wide and not left to individual teachers to enforce. 

Despite the challenges, we discuss our hopes for Gen Z and what makes Jean optimistic about the future. She encourages educators to take the mental health crisis seriously and understand that it is not just our perception or feeling that something is wrong.

Her challenge is for educators to help students understand the love-hate relationship they have with their phones, and provide structure and clear rules to help them navigate technology in a healthy way.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

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