Cultural trends shaping iGen: Individualism, Insecurity, Internet, and In No Hurry to Grow Up

Dr. Jean Twenge, PhD

Title of Lecture: Cultural trends shaping iGen:  Individualism, Insecurity, Internet, and In No Hurry to Grow Up

Date:  March 16, 2018

Dr. Twenge addressed how American culture has grown steadily more individualistic over the last few decades. Based on data from nationally representative surveys of 11 million adolescents and young adults, this resulted in generational shifts favoring individual freedom and less importance placed on marriage and family. For Millennials (born 1980-1994), individualism led to more positive self-views and more happiness as teens, but that trend reversed for iGen (born 1995-2012), who are less happy, more lonely, and more depressed. iGen spends more time online and on social media and less time interacting with friends in person than previous generations at the same age, a pattern of time use associated with compromised mental health. iGen is also growing up more slowly, taking longer to engage in adult activities such as working, driving, dating, having sex, and drinking alcohol.

Jean M. Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than 140 scientific publications and the books iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before and The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (co-authored with W. Keith Campbell). Dr. Twenge frequently gives talks and seminars on teaching and working with today’s young generation based on a dataset of 11 million young people. Her audiences have included college faculty and staff, high school teachers, military personnel, camp directors, and corporate executives. Her research has been covered in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on Today, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Fox and Friends, NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, and National Public Radio. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

This lecture was sponsored by The University Honors College and the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy.

Co-sponsored by The Office of the Provost in honor of "The Year of Healthy U," and the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health.