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

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Description


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 most 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.

About the Author


Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He obtained his PhD in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and taught at the University of Virginia for sixteen years. His research focuses on moral and political psychology, as described in his book The Righteous Mind. His latest book, The Anxious Generation, is a direct continuation of the themes explored in The Coddling of the American Mind (written with Greg Lukianoff). He writes the After Babel Substack.

Praise For…


“Jonathan Haidt is a modern-day prophet, disguised as a psychologist. In this book, he’s back to warn us of the dangers of a phone-based childhood. He points the way forward to a brighter, stronger future for us all.” —Susan Cain, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet and Quiet

“An urgent and provocative read on why so many kids are not okay—and how to course correct. Jonathan Haidt makes a powerful case that the shift from play-based to phone-based childhoods is wreaking havoc on mental health and social development. Even if you’re not ready to ban smartphones until high school, this book will challenge you to rethink how we nurture the potential in our kids and prepare them for the world.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Potential and Think Again, and host of the TED podcast Re:Thinking

“This is a crucial read for parents of children of elementary school age and beyond, who face the rapidly changing landscape of childhood. Haidt lays out problems but also solutions for making a better digital life with kids.” —Emily Oster, New York Times bestselling author of Expecting Better

“Every single parent needs to stop what they are doing and read this book immediately. Jonathan Haidt is the most important psychologist in the world today, and this is the most important book on the topic that’s reshaping your child’s life right now.” —Johann Hari, author of Stolen Focus

“This book poses a challenge that will determine the shape of the rest of the century. Jonathan Haidt shows us how we’ve arrived at this point of crisis with technology and the next generation. This book does not merely stand athwart the iPhone yelling ‘Stop!’ Haidt provides research-tested yet practical counsel for parents, communities, houses of worship, and governments about how things could be different. I plan to give this book to as many people as I can, while praying that we all have the wisdom to ponder and then to act.” —Russell Moore, editor in chief of Christianity Today


Product Details
ISBN: 9780593655030
ISBN-10: 0593655036
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: March 26th, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English