top of page

Are the Kids Alright? EPISODE 2: Smartphones, Social Media, and Loneliness with Jean Twenge

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Whether you're a parent, a youth pastor, a teacher or a young person yourself, you've probably seen all of the headlines concerning Gen Z. Rates of depression and loneliness are surging, their relationship with technology is kind of troubling, and they are leaving the church in droves. We've talked about these trends a lot on the Holy Post, but we're not alone. Tenx10 is a new collaborative discipleship initiative whose mission is to make faith matter more for this younger generation. We've partnered with Tenx10 to create this series and to hear from experts in each episode about the challenges young people and those who care about them are facing. One of those experts is Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, and an author with an expertise in generational differences and technology. She's known for her books iGen, Generation Me, and The Narcissism Epidemic, and she's argued that smartphones were the most likely cause behind the sudden increase in mental health issues among teens after 2012. Skye sat down with Jean to find out if the kids are gonna be alright.

0:00 - Theme Song

0:18 - Intro

1:32 - Epidemic of Loneliness

11:41 - Solutions

32:51 - Tenx10 Info - Go to for resources on how to help the younger generation care more about faith

34:02 - Debrief with Kara Powell

48:48 - End Credits

Links and Resources

Generations by Jean Twenge -

Holy Post website:

Holy Post Plus:

Holy Post Merch Store:

The Holy Post is supported by our listeners. We may earn affiliate commissions through links listed here. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.


Sara R
Sara R
Nov 10, 2023

As the parent of a child who experienced a school shooting, I would like to gently suggest that a (high school) child having access to their phone in this unthinkable situation is a legitimate concern. I am very grateful my daughter was able to text me. While I don't think we should structure everything around this fear let's not make light of it.


Tom Burns
Tom Burns
Nov 07, 2023

During the discussion, Jean Twenge cites some studies, and one in particular, that teens reporting high levels of pressure to perform or succeed may have peaked and is not a factor in current anxiety. I’m curious where that research can be found.


My wife and I are talking about the “he gets us” campaign - she was able to hear the founder of the campaign speak and he stated that Jesus and the disciples used the media and “platforms” of their time (roads, hills to speak on, synagogues, etc). This brought us to a question - if Jesus were physically here today, do you think he would use social media? Why/why not?


I was also a Gen X'er and my high school years were spent mostly home alone while my parents were at work, watching TV. My teen now hangs out home alone after school, just in front of the computer instead of the TV. Not much has changed. I'd still argue that our competitive, toxic culture is more to blame for the current mental state of today's teens. I'd like to see the data on how many hours today's teens spend in structured activities as opposed to in the 80's. What I see are teens that get up at 5:30 in the morning to catch the bus, sit in school until 3 pm, then go straight to clubs and/or sports practice,…

bottom of page