Is social media causing a generation of anxious kids?

By Melissa Moore on March 28, 2024
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Denver, CO – There is a new norm when it comes to children and technology.  In a new book, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has extensively researched these questions about technology and mental health and come up with answers.  His book is appropriately called,  “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.”

Just last week the Surgeon General said that Millennials are going through a sort of mid-life crisis before they’re 30 and blamed a big part of it on social media.

In Haidt’s book he found that back in 2010, few children had smartphones and Instagram didn’t exist. Fast forward five years and in 2015, 80% of teens had smartphones and most of the girls had Instagram.  Another difference is that in 2010 kids had flip phones, but in 2015 it was the change to smartphones.

Haidt recommends that parents implement these four changes with their children:

  1. No smartphones before high school
  2. No social media before the age of 16
  3. Phone free schools
  4. More independence, free time and responsibility in the real world

One comment that Haidt made to the Today Show is hitting home for some parents,

“We have overprotected our children in the real world and underprotected them online.”

Gen Z having mid-life crisis and social media may be to blame


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