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The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness

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by Jonathan Haidt (Author)


From New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind, an essential investigation into the collapse of youth mental health—and a plan for a healthier, freer childhood.

After more than a decade of stability or improvement, the mental health of adolescents plunged in the early 2010s. Rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide rose sharply, more than doubling on many measures. Why?

In The Anxious Generation, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt lays out the facts about the epidemic of teen mental illness that hit many countries at the same time. He then investigates the nature of childhood, including why children need play and independent exploration to mature into competent, thriving adults. Haidt shows how the “play-based childhood” began to decline in the 1980s, and how it was finally wiped out by the arrival of the “phone-based childhood” in the early 2010s. He presents more than a dozen mechanisms by which this “great rewiring of childhood” has interfered with children’s social and neurological development, covering everything from sleep deprivation to attention fragmentation, addiction, loneliness, social contagion, social comparison, and perfectionism. He explains why social media damages girls more than boys and why boys have been withdrawing from the real world into the virtual world, with disastrous consequences for themselves, their families, and their societies.

Most important, Haidt issues a clear call to action. He diagnoses the “collective action problems” that trap us, and then proposes four simple rules that might set us free. He describes steps that parents, teachers, schools, tech companies, and governments can take to end the epidemic of mental illness and restore a more humane childhood.

Haidt has spent his career speaking truth backed by data in the most difficult landscapes—communities polarized by politics and religion, campuses battling culture wars, and now the public health emergency faced by Gen Z. We cannot afford to ignore his findings about protecting our children—and ourselves—from the psychological damage of a phone-based life.


“Erudite, engaging, combative, crusading.” —Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, New York Times Book Review

“Words that chill the parental heart… thanks to Mr. Haidt, we can glimpse the true horror of what happened not only in the U.S. but also elsewhere in the English-speaking world… lucid, memorable… galvanizing.” —Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal


“I found myself nodding along in agreement … benefits from… years of research on how smartphones and social media dice the nerves and tamp the spirits of young people … not just reasonable but irrefutably necessary.” —Jessica Winter, New Yorker

“Boundlessly wise… important and engrossing.” —Frank Bruni, New York Times Opinion

“All the suggestions sound sensible. Some even sound fun . . . Deals seriously with counter-arguments and gaps in the evidence.” The Economist

“Can be quite wonderful… beautifully grounds his critique in Buddhist, Taoist and Christian thought traditions… His common-sense recommendations for actions...are excellent.” —Judith Warner, The Washington Post

"[An] important new book...The shift in kids’ energy and attention from the physical world to the virtual one, Haidt shows, has been catastrophic, especially for girls." —Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times

“Informative and compelling…Haidt wants children to spend more time appreciating nature, playing with friends, riding and falling off their bikes, and doing age-appropriate chores.”—Glenn C. Altschuler, Psychology Today

"An urgent and essential read, and it ought to become a foundational text for the growing movement to keep smartphones out of schools, and young children off social media" —Sophie McBain, The Guardian (UK)

“Compelling, readable—and incredibly chilling . . . remarkably persuasive.” —Lucy Denyer, Telegraph (UK)

"A persuasive and rousing argument"—Anna Davis, Evening Standard (UK)

Categories : Mental Illness, Stress Management, Parenting Teenagers

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C9F37G28

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Press (March 26, 2024)

Publication date ‏ : ‎ March 26, 2024

Language ‏ : ‎ English

File‏ : ‎ EPUB, 15.96 MB

Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled

Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported

Print length ‏ : ‎ 395 pages

You will get a EPUB (16MB) file

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