Adults know well enough how depressing it can be to see your friends cavorting about some beautiful international locale on Facebook while you're stuck at work too poor to travel. And we've also been trying to navigate the new etiquette around when it's OK to check your phone during in-person conversations, and when we should stop playing games on our phones and go to bed. But put a smartphone in the hands of a teenager, and what you get are all of those dilemmas and then some, magnified and unchecked. As psychology professor Dr. Jeane M. Twenge writes in a well researched piece in The Atlantic — a piece that has been virally spreading like mad among parents on social media this week — the evidence is now clear that smartphones are creating "a lonely, dislocated generation" of teens who leave the house less, interact with each other less, get less sleep, and show an alarming rise in rates of depression and suicide.

"Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states," Twenge writes. "The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs." As she goes on to describe in the piece, which is actually excerpted from her forthcoming book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us, the generation of kids born since 1995 are already exhibiting broad trends in isolation and depression, and immaturity, that are distinct from Millennials and all the generations that precede them. And in a series of graphs, Twenge links all of it to the release of the iPhone in 2007, when the oldest members of what she calls iGen were 12 years old.

Much of the data Twenge is relying upon comes from The Monitoring the Future survey, which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and annually polls teenagers from across the country, asking them more than 1,000 questions about how they spend their leisure time, adding questions in recent years about how often they text or use social media. The survey has polled 12th-graders every year since 1975 and 8th- and 10th-graders since 1991. Twenge extrapolates the data from the survey to paint a picture of teens who are now content to mostly go out with their parents, spend long hours staring at their phones alone in their rooms, and spend less time dating or experimenting with drugs or alcohol than kids just five or ten years older than them did at their age.

Some major takeaways from the piece:

  • Fewer 16-year-olds are rushing to get their license anymore, content to be dependent on their parents longer.
  • 22 percent fewer high-school seniors have jobs in the 2010s compared to the 1970s.
  • "Across a range of behaviors—drinking, dating, spending time unsupervised— 18-year-olds now act more like 15-year-olds used to, and 15-year-olds more like 13-year-olds."
  • "Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media."
  • "As teens have started spending less time together, they have become less likely to kill one another, and more likely to kill themselves."
  • "Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan."
  • "For all their power to link kids day and night, social media also exacerbate the age-old teen concern about being left out. Today’s teens may go to fewer parties and spend less time together in person, but when they do congregate, they document their hangouts relentlessly—on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook. Those not invited to come along are keenly aware of it."
  • "Forty-eight percent more girls said they often felt left out in 2015 than in 2010, compared with 27 percent more boys."
  • "Social media give middle- and high-school girls a platform on which to carry out the style of aggression they favor, ostracizing and excluding other girls around the clock."
  • "In just the four years from 2012 to 2015, 22 percent more teens failed to get seven hours of sleep."

It's a bleak picture, not to mention one that doesn't bode well for these kids as they reach adulthood. Twenge points out that a defining aspect of Generation X was the elongating of adolescence, with "Its members start[ing] becoming adults earlier and finish[ing] becoming adults later" than Boomers did. But as she surmises, iGen kids aren't even embracing the hallmarks of adolescence, except for the part about retreating into themselves and becoming emotional wrecks, largely thanks to their phone addictions.

The piece, and the forthcoming book, are sure to spark even more obnoxious harping from parents about "screen time," but these are also probably lessons that all of us could use, even if we aren't still teenagers ourselves.

Now go back to passive-aggressively liking things on Instagram that are actually eating you up inside with envy.

Related: UGH: The Average Person Is Going To Spend Five Years Of Their Life On Social Media