Mandatory Reading for all Parents!

Shocked me.
Grieved me.
Convicted me.
Gave me hope.

I just finished Jonathan Haidt’s The Anxious Generation and I cannot recommend it enough for all who are raising children in the age of smartphones. And fellow parents, this book is not for the faint of heart. This book made me cringe and cry as I reviewed my own clunky attempts at screen limits while raising my two. Who now, as young adults, tell me all of the ways they found to get around our screen limits!

Young people are suffering the consequences of their brains being rewired by the decrease in unsupervised play and the giant increase in time spent online.

Here are some of his ideas that stuck with me:

  • Kids need far more time in unsupervised play, without adults solving all of their problems for them.
  • Time online represents an opportunity cost when those hours that used to go to play and creatively solving the problem of boredom are now filled with social media, gaming, porn, videos….etc.
  • We have left our children virtually defenseless online as real safe-measures have not been developed (and they certainly could have been!) to keep kids from creating social media accounts with fake birth dates.

One of Haidt’s primary solutions really resonated with me.

Haidt says that collective action on the part of parents MUST be a big part of the solution. If groups of parents decide together to delay getting their kids smartphones, then their kids will still have each other to play with! Being the only child in one’s grade who cannot text with friends is a social isolation experiment that most parents aren’t willing to try. I appreciate the reality check here, but see how challenging such corporate action may feel in such an individualistic culture.

Haidt has more ideas that are compelling as well:

  • Phone-free schools–truly phone-free, not just “during-class” prohibitions
  • Delaying social media until age 16
  • No smartphones before High School

I hope that you’ll read this important book and start a movement to rescue kids from the epidemic of loneliness and anxiety that has become the norm for Gen Z.

“We are embodied creatures; children should learn how to manage their bodies in the physical world before they start spending large amounts of time in the virtual world.” ~Jonathan Haidt

Click here to get your copy

7 Responses

  1. Excellent. It pains me to see young people on cellphones. I’m a grandmother now and did not have that stress of monitoring social media. I’m concerned about the future generation.

    1. I know! The cooperative efforts of parents is so key, but in our highly individualized society, it is a big challenge for groups of parents to come together in the ways that would really help kids. I just hope that we do it.

  2. Wait for 8th is an awesome organization that equips parents for the collective action to protect kids from smart phones!

  3. I feel I am fighting an uphill battle on this when I talk to kids, teens, & their parents about limiting screen time!

  4. This article made me weep. I am a grandmother and watching my grandchildren is so scary. I am going to pray for all of you who are parents, we have to break Satan’s stronghold.

  5. Thanks for sharing this! As a retired elementary school counselor, this really resonated with me! I found myself saying YES to each of the points you shared from the author! I may just have to read the book and then pass it on to my grown “kids” for my future grandchildren.

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