It was after the Great Recession, which officially lasted from 2007 to 2009 and had a starker effect on Millennials trying to find a place in a sputtering economy.But it was exactly the moment when the proportion of Americans who owned a smartphone surpassed 50 percent.We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned.Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear.
The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear.
These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household.
The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns.
Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter.
But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever.