Jennifer Siebel Newsom made the claim in an introductory essay for a new report by The California Partners Project which examines how teenagers are coping with life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The First Lady of California - who shares four children with Newsom - expressed particular concern that kids now had an increased dependence on phones and laptops for socializing and schooling.
'We're outraged that California's families find themselves in this position when there are still so many unanswered questions about the risks technology may pose to kids' brain health and bodies,' Siebel Newsom and her co-author, Lisa Ling, wrote.
'As these adolescents fall asleep with their phones under their pillows, tragically their sadness, anxiety, and despair are mounting – as is their dependence on the devices themselves,' the pair added.
The report, titled 'Are The Kids Alright?' was compiled following interviews with 46 teenagers from across California.
The findings ultimately concluded that lockdowns have been detrimental for teenagers because they are missing out on forming crucial identity-forming experiences that only face-to-face socializing and schooling can provide.
'Teens are experiencing a tremendous loss due to school closure and social isolation,' the report argues.
'School acted as a stabilizing force with structure and social aspects that are no longer available. Teens missed milestones that they'll never get back. When they talk about these losses, teens describe an evolution of feelings since March, including denial, anger, [and] depression'.
The report continues: 'Sports, clubs, theater, and arts provide kids the ability to find and indulge passions, meet different people, and develop new friend groups as a way to build identity.
'The cancellation of these activities has left behind a deep loss of both the day-to-day experience of these activities and the expected life-defining moments they often provide'.
Despite what occurs during lockdowns, Governor Newsom has imposed new harsh restrictions on Californians due to rising COVID-19 cases.
'We are sounding the alarm,' Newsom stated at a press conference earlier this week.
'California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet — faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.'
On Monday, California had logged 1,029,235 cases, 18,263 deaths and had a positivity rate of 4.6 percent – up three percent from October 29.
In the past two weeks in California there has been a 48 percent increase in hospital beds used by COVID-19 patients and the number of ICU patients has also risen 38 percent over the same time period.
'We are sounding the alarm. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes,' Newsom said.
'Bottom line is, we're moving from a marathon to a sprint,' he said.