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Event Details

The Machines Killing Our Kids

24 August 2024
10.15am – 11.30am AEST

Jean Twenge | Verity Firth

Between 2011 and 2019, depression rates doubled for U.S. teens, and feelings of loneliness and psychological distress soared among Australian young people, particularly teen girls and young women. Even more troubling, suicide rates among young women have surged across the Anglosphere. These terrible outcomes are now shared by teens across English-speaking countries, irrespective of personal identity or background – with those born after 1995 being much more likely to experience mental-health issues than their millennial predecessors.

According to psychologist Jean Twenge, of all the possible causes of this tragic development, one stands out: the rise of the smartphone and associated social media apps. For some, these have become ‘killing machines’. So, why are they not controlled to the same degree as other deadly risks?

This session is presented by the UNSW Sydney and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.


UNSW Sydney is the exclusive university sponsor and proud Principal Partner of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Explore more events featuring UNSW academics and researchers here



Single Tickets
Standard – $35 
Concession – $32 
Youth – $30 

Plus booking fee.

A multipack consists of three or more tickets to different FODI talks. After you have selected three or more tickets to different paid talks*, you may also add additional individual paid and free tickets to your order. Purchasing a multipack will provide a 15% discount across your entire cart (discount applied at check out).  

*Free sessions are not included in the three different sessions needed to create a multipack. No concession pricing is available for multipacks, and booking fees apply.  

For more information, head here


This event will take place live at Carriageworks


Wheelchair Accessible
Carriageworks has a wheelchair ramp and level access at all entrances. There is level access and accessible seating available in all venues along with multiple accessible toilets. Accessible parking is available at the end of Carriageworks Way, with entry via 229 Wilson Street. The closest train station with wheelchair access across all platforms is Redfern Station which recently underwent upgrades to improve accessibility.

Access Services
For all access services, please contact the Festival of Dangerous Ideas directly at


Carriageworks is easily accessible via public transport. It is an eight-minute walk from Redfern Station, a 10-minute walk from Macdonaldtown Station or 15-minute walk from Newtown Station along with numerous bus routes available. For trip planning, maps and ticket info, visit or call 131 500.

Limited on-site (with entry via 229 Wilson Street) and street parking is available. For additional transport information visit the Carriageworks website.


Festival of Dangerous Ideas 
For all event enquiries, please email or visit here.

UNSW Centre for Ideas
For all other enquiries, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9065 0485. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9065 0485. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9065 0485. 

Headshot of Jean Twenge

Jean Twenge

Jean M. Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than 180 scientific publications and seven books, including Generations: The Real Differences between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future and iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the University of Michigan. She writes the Generation Tech substack. 

Verity Firth

Verity Firth

Verity Firth is the inaugural Vice-President Societal Impact, Equity and Engagement at the University of New South Wales. She has over twenty years’ experience at the very highest levels of government and education sectors in Australia. Prior to her role at UNSW, Verity was the Pro Vice-Chancellor Social Justice and Inclusion at UTS (2015-2022), the CEO of the Public Education Foundation (2011-2014) and the NSW Minister for Education and Training (2008-2011). Verity is a member of the Commonwealth Government’s Implementation Advisory Committee for the Universities Accord.  

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