[ExI] Reverse Flynn Effect - Blame Smartphones!

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Dec 31 16:43:35 UTC 2023

The Atlantic

It Sure Looks Like Phones Are Making Students Dumber
Opinion by Derek Thompson  •  19 Dec 2023


For the past few years, parents, researchers, and the news media have
paid closer attention to the relationship between teenagers’ phone use
and their mental health. Researchers such as Jonathan Haidt and Jean
Twenge have shown that various measures of student well-being began a
sharp decline around 2012 throughout the West, just as smartphones and
social media emerged as the attentional centerpiece of teenage life.
Some have even suggested that smartphone use is so corrosive, it’s
systematically reducing student achievement. I hadn’t quite believed
that last argument—until now.

The deeper, most interesting story is that test scores have been
falling for years—even before the pandemic. Across the OECD, science
scores peaked in 2009, and reading scores peaked in 2012. Since then,
developed countries have as a whole performed “increasingly poorly” on
average. “No single country showed an increasingly positive trend in
any subject,” PISA reported, and “many countries showed increasingly
poor performance in at least one subject.” Even in famously
high-performing countries, such as Finland, Sweden, and South Korea,
PISA grades in one or several subjects have been declining for a

Although this report refers to students, smartphone use is now endemic
throughout the whole population. So the IQ declines affect the entire
population of developed nations.


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