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The mental health of generation Z

personperson Don't believe everything you think'Merica! Veteran
edited September 20 in General Banter

In their new book Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff worry about the mental health of the newest generation of students (genZ or iGen). Studies show that they are less emotionally resilient and have higher levels of anxiety and depression, its especially bad for girls. They try to get at some of the causes, looking back at some wisdom of the ages from Buddha to Shakespeare as well as the idea of antifragility and the omnipresence of social media, that there are kind of anti CBT beliefs that are becoming more common. The video is a short introduction to the idea, you can find other longer talks if you're interested.

ShoshinVastmind

Comments

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    Just an addendum I thought I'd add a little video explaining 10 of the most common CBT cognitive distortions.

    lobsteryagrVastmind
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    The world that we've created isolates us, turns our relationships into transactions, and feeds off our vitality like a vampire, leaving us tired and drained and empty inside, and making any sadness or despair we may feel that much deeper. It's also built upon the exploitation and oppression of various segments of society, and physically destroying our planet in the process. Is it any wonder that people are increasingly unable to connect with one another and find no meaning in their own existence or hope for the future? The psychology of competitiveness, individualism, of capitalism itself, is killing us.

    KundoVastmind
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @Jason said:
    The world that we've created isolates us, turns our relationships into transactions, and feeds off our vitality like a vampire, leaving us tired and drained and empty inside, and making any sadness or despair we may feel that much deeper. It's also built upon the exploitation and oppression of various segments of society, and physically destroying our planet in the process. Is it any wonder that people are increasingly unable to connect with one another and find no meaning in their own existence or hope for the future? The psychology of competitiveness, individualism, of capitalism itself, is killing us.

    Could be, they're talking more about the cognitive tools we employ to deal with the world. I suppose both could be true to some extent or another.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    I know a lot of millenials, and the vast majority of their stress is from student loan debt, trying to find a decent paying job, and dealing with feelings of alienation and unfulfillment. Most of them are also receptive to alternatives to capitalism. I think it's a big part of it, anyway.

    KeromeShoshinkando
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Jason said:
    I know a lot of millenials, and the vast majority of their stress is from student loan debt

    Student loan debt is a pernicious form of nastyness if you ask me. Back when I went to uni you could go study on a decent bursary and not incur any debt. I don’t understand why that system had to change — if it was affordable back then, why is it not affordable now? I just think it’s very close to wage slavery to saddle kids with a 50k debt before they even have a job.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Jason said:
    I know a lot of millenials, and the vast majority of their stress is from student loan debt, trying to find a decent paying job, and dealing with feelings of alienation and unfulfillment. Most of them are also receptive to alternatives to capitalism. I think it's a big part of it, anyway.

    Absolutely- you have described my 17 year old daughter almost to a tee

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @Jason said:
    I know a lot of millenials, and the vast majority of their stress is from student loan debt, trying to find a decent paying job, and dealing with feelings of alienation and unfulfillment. Most of them are also receptive to alternatives to capitalism. I think it's a big part of it, anyway.

    So, they aren't referring to millenials. They're talking about the generation after them.

    Carameltail
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @person said:

    @Jason said:
    I know a lot of millenials, and the vast majority of their stress is from student loan debt, trying to find a decent paying job, and dealing with feelings of alienation and unfulfillment. Most of them are also receptive to alternatives to capitalism. I think it's a big part of it, anyway.

    So, they aren't referring to millenials. They're talking about the generation after them.

    So, what I said applies to the next generation as well. I don't know many Zers, but plenty of millenials going through what they're talking about.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 21

    Many thanks @person B)

    Many of the distortions belong to Buddha generation too ... ;)

    One solution is a spiritual/psychological/thought journal

    and now back to the legendary no-thought ...

    CarameltailpersonVastmind
  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Veteran
    edited September 21

    CBT ideas can be sure useful, when used properly. If you have avoidance or anxiety patterns these methods can be useful to distrupt such things and help better functioning.

    Social media is such a pain, it can be a useful tool minimally but the fact is usually most forms of it are designed with yucky algorithms, strong conditioning loops and the like. Even email can be very slightly bothersome o-o even if its an older technology.
    I read something about how girls 7-21 in 2018 are a lot let happier that in the past.
    One thing though some things are not as easy as they were in the past.

    personlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited September 21

    I haven't listened to the book yet but it is on hold. From what I understand from interviews I've listened to they noticed a trend starting a few years ago and have some research to back that up (that the mental health of new students on average not as a whole "what is wrong with kids these days" generation) has worsened, its something more than the stresses past generations share. The exact causes aren't understood, but since college age students now are the first generation to grow up with smart phones and social media they think that is a good place to look.

    From what I understand social media presents a couple problems. The goal is to get clicks and follows, the way that works best is to use sensationalism and anger to get people to click. These promote "anti CBT" thinking specifically in the forms of catastrophizing and black and white, all or nothing thinking. Their hypothesis for why its worse for girls has to do with the general trend of girls to be more social than boys and the power social media has to amplify that. For example, when boys bully they tend to use physical intimidation, when girls bully they tend to use social ostracization, so the pressure and consequences are turned up with social media.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Many of the distortions belong to Buddha generation too ... ;)

    Sorry if my post came across as curmudgeonly. What they are describing is a general trend towards worsening mental states not a generation wide problem.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    This guy has precisely the right idea.
    It may be 'funny' but - it's also not.

    It makes perfect sense to me that such an environment is going to drive some people crazy. There will be a percentage of folks who get carried away by it and who won’t have the discipline to get rid of it when it goes too far.

  • Generation Z are already 'phone zombies'. Their children will grow up with augmented reality, after that brain implants/bio-augmentation ...

    Wetware and beyond ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconventional_computing

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I don’t see it as such an evil. Mobile phones will take a while to get used to, but I think people and society will adjust. In the end it’s a communication tool and an entertainment device, but if you are used to being happy inside your own head, you can easily put it aside and enjoy the trees, shrubs, deer, and other wildlife around you.

    When used as an escape and for the few with poor impulse control it is going to be a problem yes but I don’t think it will be an entire generation.

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    I don’t see it as such an evil. Mobile phones will take a while to get used to, but I think people and society will adjust. In the end it’s a communication tool and an entertainment device, but if you are used to being happy inside your own head, you can easily put it aside and enjoy the trees, shrubs, deer, and other wildlife around you.

    if.

    Sadly, there is growing mounting evidence that many young people are going through awful mental conditions either as a direct result of, or under some influence of Modern technology/media.
    It's horrifying to think that more young people identify better with communication via an appliance, rather than being able to name trees.

    When used as an escape and for the few with poor impulse control it is going to be a problem yes but I don’t think it will be an entire generation.

    The few are growing legion. And sadly, it's not the future generation who is in danger from the effects. Many of the current generation are victim, too.

    I live in a busy urban environment.
    The sheer number of people holding or using phones, is horrifyingly staggering. And it's the norm.

    When you consider a current punishment for kids is to have their phones taken away from them - not, 'grounding', not, 'no tv', not, 'go to your room' - but being deprived of their technological comforter, I just wonder what we have been imposing on these young minds to such an extent that without their mobile phones they feel the world has caved in on them.

    Kundo
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited September 30

    My wife has to remind me to charge the cell phone I own: It seems that the thing runs out of juice even if I don't use it except to contact either immediate family or the AAA towing service. That means almost never: There's a land line if I want to talk to anyone.

    Belonging to Facebook et al strikes me as an anti-social pastime so I steer clear: Separation from others strikes me as a poor selling point.

    On top of that, the fidelity of the phones is mediocre at best. I do hope that millennials who are afflicted with so-called communication may use their college education to withdraw from the opiod sex-dolls referred to as "friends."

    If I could afford it, I would send all kids (I'm 78) to a one-month camp without electronics...

    I figure if someone wants to warn me of an angry herd of dancing kangaroos advancing on my neighborhood, s/he'll bang on the door and tell me. If no one bangs on the door, I still prefer kangaroos to bloodless idle chatter.

    Yes, I know, they're here to stay, but in the meantime,

    Color me fuddy-duddy.

    Kundo
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited September 30

    I was talking to my cousin this summer, who has taught Montessori for a couple decades, and she was talking about how many of her kids these days don't know how to do unstructured play. If she sends them outside to play they just sit there not knowing what to do unless she tells them what to do. This seems like too much time spent on devices to me.

    This is one of the other critiques in the book. That too many supervised, structured environments designed to get kids to achieve maximum success and protect them from any harm robs them of the opportunity to be creative and develop important interpersonal skills.

    In the spirit of checks and balances here is also an article that has some criticisms of the hypotheses in the book. Most pertinent to my mind was the notion that reducing structured learning in schools favors kids who can get that at home and hurts underprivileged kids who need the instruction.

    https://quillette.com/2018/09/28/what-the-coddling-of-the-american-mind-gets-wrong/

    Vastmind
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited September 30

    @person said:
    I was talking to my cousin this summer, who has taught Montessori for a couple decades, and she was talking about how many of her kids these days don't know how to do unstructured play. If she sends them outside to play they just sit there not knowing what to do unless she tells them what to do. This seems like too much time spent on devices to me.

    Yep. I agree. It's school holidays in Australia. My daughter is in Europe for three weeks with her history class while my three stepsons will spend that time glued to the frigging X-Box 😐😐😐

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    My cousin also shared a story about the importance of free play that ties into the thesis of this post. Essentially that proper development of motor skills that comes along with movement and experimentation is crucial in developing some cognitive abilities like attention and the abilities to sit still and listen.

    My reaction is that this sort of sedentary activity and "safteyism" is harmful to children. I want to avoid becoming a curmudgeon as I regularly find myself thinking "when I was a kid". The world changes and I want to remain open to the possibility that the new generation is just adapting to a new world. Perhaps, as Yuval Noah Harari is predicting, the robots will take over most of the work freeing humans up to pursue whatever we like. For the altruists and passionate they can pursue their efforts while for many life will be lived not in the outer world but in the mental world of cultivated virtual realms, where we won't need to think creatively or deal with the unpleasantness life throws our way. This sort of future comes across to me as something akin to a voluntary Matrix movie, where the robots don't force us into the virtual world, we go there voluntarily.

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    A sort of voluntary matrix features in a few places in sci-fi, although to me it only makes sense if we also get “architectural privileges”, the ability to re-shape the matrix.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    Another article about doctors now actually needing to prescribe play.

    https://qz.com/1363294/the-american-academy-of-pediatrics-is-telling-doctors-to-start-prescribing-play/

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    A sort of voluntary matrix features in a few places in sci-fi, although to me it only makes sense if we also get “architectural privileges”, the ability to re-shape the matrix.

    I suppose my bias is to see such a development in a negative light, but if I'm open I can see ways that such a world could be a net positive.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    The big problem is, we can't un-learn what has now come to pass. All we can do is form a base of knowledge, and attempt to implement, produce or engender some kind of 'good result' out of a situation that is clearly currently not an entirely positive one.

    personlobsterKundo
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 3

    Studies show that they are less emotionally resilient and have higher levels of anxiety and depression, its especially bad for girls.

    I don't have a phone. Job done.

    Peer pressure, social expectation, 'the norm' does not work on me. Yesterday I was watching TV for the first time in a couple of years and listening to commercial radio with ads. Not much worth watching or listening to (I am on a private retreat where such indulgence is allowed - by me). None the less the addiction attraction is obvious ... I won't be going on Farcebook, I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine rather than Google Ad Bubble. Dr Who is my technology ideal and she only has a sonic screwdriver ... (will have to reinstall Iplayer to catch up with her advice) ...

    Iz Lobster maverick gal plan ... :p

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @federica said:
    The big problem is, we can't un-learn what has now come to pass. All we can do is form a base of knowledge, and attempt to implement, produce or engender some kind of 'good result' out of a situation that is clearly currently not an entirely positive one.

    I started watching the most recent Mind and Life conference with HHDL and scientists, this meeting is called "Reimagining Human Flourishing" and looks like it focuses on early childhood education and development. I've only just begun watching but in Richie Davidson's opening presentation he presents the same chart, along with others, showing declining mental health among the newest generation.

    I'm quoting your comment because the conference focuses on possible solutions for how to develop beneficial mental/emotional qualities in children. And I suppose adults too.

    https://www.dalailama.com/videos/mind-life-xxxiii-reimagining-human-flourishing

    federicalobsterVastmind
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think the root cause of a lot of these problems are poor environments, probably caused by overpopulation. I recognise the effects of the likes of safetyism and digital devices, but I think if the environments were better the problems would be a lot less.

    We just need to get much better at managing population pressures, and also at family planning. We need a liveable world where the population is declining, not growing.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited October 3

    @Kerome said:
    I think the root cause of a lot of these problems are poor environments, probably caused by overpopulation. I recognize the effects of the likes of safetyism and digital devices, but I think if the environments were better the problems would be a lot less.

    We just need to get much better at managing population pressures, and also at family planning. We need a livable world where the population is declining, not growing.

    Yeah I think many of our problems today are a result of the population size, especially environmental problems. HHDL asked the question in the first session whether any studies have been done showing a comparison between the mental health of rural people vs urban. He thought that in rural areas communities and the human relations that such lifestyles promote would lead to more flourishing and that urban life leads to more isolated lives. Increased urban life being a direct result of increased population size.

    So far the best ways that has been shown to reduce birth rates are economic development and the education and empowerment of women. The more developed a country and the more say women have in determining family size the lower the birth rate. I suppose China's one child policy has worked too, if you don't mind that sort of control.

    Population is expected to rise to around 9 billion sometime in the middle of this century and then start declining.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    Good thread! :+1:

    person
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    A short talk on Big Think expanding on some of the ideas, including the positive role CBT could play in helping.

    Vastmind
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited November 19

    This subject has grabbed my attention, my niece just entered the 7th grade and my nephews aren't far behind. My cousin, who I mention earlier in the thread shared another story that highlights the core of the problem from the social media side.

    https://www.waituntil8th.org/blog/2018/11/12/middle-school-misfortunes-then-and-now-one-teachers-take

    I should add having listened to the book. That a couple key measures that studies show help are that keeping screen time below 2 hours prevents the uptick in anxiety and depression, with rates increasing as screen time increases above the 2 hour mark. And increasing face to face interaction with people.

    Vastmind
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 20

    Other parents seem in awe of the fact that I supervise and am able to limit the screen time and say no to cell phones. To me, it just seems parents use the tech gadgets as pacifiers to keep kids of all ages quiet, and not have to put in the involvement that it usually takes to teach life skills. Gadgets have just turned into expensive babysitters, IMO. In my home, still no cell phones until age 18 ( and you pay for them, not me. )...my 14 and 15 yr olds only have ipads and they have to be 'checked-out and in' of the basket in my room, like library books. I love that the IOS 12 has the time tracking on it, to cut down on my old fashioned paper logs, haha

    I shared the article above. It's a good one.

    I'm not saying my kids will turn out perfect bec of it...but I will admit that as a social person, I peeped out the drawbacks to all of this early on, and just never started something I didn't want to finish. I felt it was important for my kids to learn/know to be around people...IRL.... Bored and all. :)

    What CBT methods do you find effective?

    I'm a stickler for the " let's just play the bad out. " what's the worst thing that can happen"? Most of my anxiety and fear of the unknown seems to calm down after I feel more prepared by thinking about how I would handle result A or B or C. ...Reminding myself I can handle anything with hard work and perseverance. Only a stopped heart or stopped breathing would actually kill me ., hahaha. Life is hard and you don't always get what you want, when you want it and how you want it. It becomes about learning to deal with those facts. Am I managing my expectations and really applying value where I want it. Am I looking for validation/happiness/control in things outside of myself? ...Just a few self-reflective questions I like to go through. Positive thinking kicks in pretty quickly for me after that. I also like the exposure method. Previous experience can usually lend some strength and resilience and some reference points.

    HozanJeffreypersonShoshin
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @Vastmind said:
    Other parents seem in awe of the fact that I supervise and am able to limit the screen time and say no to cell phones. To me, it just seems parents use the tech gadgets as pacifiers to keep kids of all ages quiet, and not have to put in the involvement that it usually takes to teach life skills. Gadgets have just turned into expensive babysitters, IMO. In my home, still no cell phones until age 18 ( and you pay for them, not me. )...my 14 and 15 yr olds only have ipads and they have to be 'checked-out and in' of the basket in my room, like library books. I love that the IOS 12 has the time tracking on it, to cut down on my old fashioned paper logs, haha

    That actually does seem rather impressive from what I see from parents, even the ones that are fairly conscious of screen time.

    What CBT methods do you find effective?

    I guess I'm not so well informed and integrated with the techniques that I use them as much as I could. I do notice more since this book when I fall into catastrophizing or black and white thinking.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I haven't watched this, but the title already disturbs me ... it's not just America, either, but it seems to be prevalent there, to the point of becoming endemic there....

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited November 21

    ^^^ let me know when you watch it. ..I would like to know your thoughts on the connection to the gen Z topic and the CBT possible solutions. Is this where gen Z is headed? Or do you want the point to be that its not isolated to one generation? In the piece above, By expressing that they have problems ‘keeping up’...does that reference the not able to deal with the changing times and what that means? I definitely agree the gentleman’s point that white men have been on top for a long time, and now they don’t know what it means is what has lead to this group saying the hell with it. Sad and disheartening, to say the least.Do I think CBT methods could fix that overall trend? No. I also don’t think forcing them to learn gadget skills and such is a good solution, either. The social aspect , or lack there of, is more complex that any of us can probably address. It’s a tough one, for sure.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    @person said:

    What CBT methods do you find effective?

    I guess I'm not so well informed and integrated with the techniques that I use them as much as I could. I do notice more since this book when I fall into catastrophizing or black and white thinking.

    Noticing the thoughts is such a Buddhist start :mrgreen: hehehe... Yeah, I catch myself falling into the black and white thinking too.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @federica said:
    I haven't watched this, but the title already disturbs me ... it's not just America, either, but it seems to be prevalent there, to the point of becoming endemic there....

    Yes, while the health and lifespans of the population as a whole continues to improve or stay steady. The numbers for men, white men especially, have taken a noticeable decline. It's understandable that sympathy for us white guys is often times hard to drum up, but it has been drawing more attention lately. IMO the interview with the guy at the fair summed it up best, namely that many of us are not coping with the changing nature of race and gender relations and the nature of the type of work available and what that means for our role and value to society.

    The problem is similar to the Gen Z problem in effect but I think the causes are different. I imagine CBT would help people cope in this situation just as much as it would help in any other. Overall though there probably needs to be a redefining of what it means to be a man that still preserves some sense of the things than men tend to care about, like strength and competence. I heard something recently that these things are some of the reason boys get so involved in video game worlds, that along with a sense of community they offer the ability to advance in skill and status.

    Vastmind
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