The Jordan Harbinger Show

990: Jonathan Haidt | How Gen Z Became the Anxious Generation

Jonathan Haidt is here to talk about his latest book, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.

What We Discuss with Jonathan Haidt:

  • Social media and smartphones have drastically altered childhood since the early 2010s, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide among teens, especially girls.
  • Virtual interactions on social media are disembodied, shallow, and can spread mental health issues among susceptible teens. Prestige biased learning causes teens to emulate influencers, even those promoting unhealthy behaviors. Smartphones and social media also enable sexual predators to easily target children online.
  • Overprotection in the real world and underprotection online are both mistakes that need to be reversed. Parents have allowed kids too much unsupervised screen time while restricting their independence and free play in the physical world out of exaggerated fears.
  • Schools and parents need to set clear boundaries around technology use. No smartphones before high school, no social media until age 16, and phone-free schools from bell to bell are key norms to establish. The longer parents delay introducing these technologies, the better.
  • Although the situation is serious, positive change is possible when parents, educators, and lawmakers work together. Parents can start by giving kids more independence and free play time offline, schools can go phone-free, and governments can pass laws to make online spaces safer for kids. With collective action, we can restore a healthier childhood for the next generation. Small steps like "Free Play Fridays" for neighborhood kids can make a difference right away. By coming together to solve this, we can ensure today's youth have the space to develop into competent, well-adjusted adults.
  • And much more...

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