Play-Based VS. Phone-Based Childhood

You may have heard of Jonathan Haidt as the author of the best-seller book, one of my absolute favorites, The Happiness Hypothesis. I highly recommend it.

Today, I want to bring to your attention his new book,
The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness (March, 2024).

Percentage of undergraduate students, adolescents, diagnosed with a mental illness in the US:

  • 106% increase in depression since 2010
  • 134% increase in anxiety since 2010
  • 72% increase in ADHD since 2010
  • 100% increase in anorexia since 2010
  • 67% increase in schizophrenia since 2010

The author, who is a social psychologist and a professor at NYU, is proposing, among other ideas, these 5 NORMS for collective action in order to revert current phone-based childhood back to play-based childhood:

  • Don’t give your child a smartphone until high-school.
  • First phone (in middle school) must be a regular call & text phone (like a flip phone).
  • Schools must ban smartphones.
  • No social media accounts until 16 years old. NONE.
  • More play time outside with other children.

For most parents, these suggestions may seem drastic and impossible to implement. I personally support these suggestions.
What do you think? Where do you stand on this issue? Drop a comment or DM-me.

For more info, check out author’s website:


“All that I have learned with you brought me in a much more prepared state to show up for my daughter and handle her diagnosis. I also know how to take care of myself. Thank you, Mihaela.”

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