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Anxious Generation

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Jonathan Haidt has been on the Point of View radio talk show to discuss his previous book, The Coddling of the American Mind. He has now compiled his research in his new book: The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.

He begins his book by having us imagine that a visionary billionaire wants to establish the first permanent human settlement on Mars and chose your ten-year-old daughter for the endeavor. You don’t give permission since there would be significant danger to your child (radiation and cellular damage, less gravity affecting bone density and growth).

But then imagine there is another company that doesn’t seem to know anything about child development nor care about child safety. This company doesn’t even require parental permission. All the child needs to do is check a box stating she has obtained parental permission. Then she can blast off to Mars.

His first chapter focuses on “The Surge of Suffering.” He explains that there was little sign of an impending mental issues crisis in the 2000s. But suddenly in the early 2010s, things changed due to smart phones and social media.

When his co-author and he finished writing The Coddling of the American Mind, they already had data through 2016. Teenagers agreed with the statement that they had experienced a long period of feeling “sad, empty, or depressed.” Something changed between 2010 and 2015, which is the period he calls “The Great Rewiring.” His book has graphs on the increase in major depression among teens, an increase in mental illness among college students, and an increase in anxiety prevalence by age.

He concludes that parents need to be involved, but we also need some government action and some responsibility from tech companies. This is a crisis that needs our attention.viewpoints new web version

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