Which Is Worse, Potatoes or Smartphones?

"The Potato Eaters," by Vincent van Gogh

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Here’s a sentence I never expected to see:

The study also found that “the association of well-being with regularly eating potatoes was nearly as negative as the association with technology use.”

Hmmm. So this means we have to control for potato eating among teens if we want to measure how smartphones affect them. I suppose we can do that.

This is all part of an article about whether smartphone use makes teens more depressed. The answer is that we don’t know. But surely we can add some anecdotal evidence to address this question. Just think back. How miserable did you feel in high school when you were being teased or bullied or just shut out from the cool kids group? Got it? Good. Now think about how you feel when the same thing happens to you today on Twitter. Which seems worse?

I have a bad memory, so I’m going to say “about the same.” How about you? Let’s do some research, people!


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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