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Technology is making our kids anxious. 4 guidelines that protect the rising generation

Increased social media and technology use is making our kids anxious.

A new book, “The Anxious Generation,” by Jonathan Haidt, has sparked a buzz in the parenting world. The book claims that technology has rewired childhood, leading to an epidemic of mental illness. Haidt argues that we have overprotected children in the real world and underprotected them in the virtual world.  

Tech educator Andrea Davis wholeheartedly agrees with this perspective. She shared some ways to combat this epidemic.


Jonathan Haidt’s book suggests that we need to roll back the phone-based childhood and restore more play-based childhood in the real world. Kids and teens are spending between 7 to 9 hours per day on a screen. The question Andrea wants you to ask is, what’s the opportunity cost there? What are they not getting when they’re spending that much time on a screen? 

More Independent Unsupervised Play

Haidt’s idea is that we have overprotected kids in the real world and underprotected them in the virtual world. He is encouraging kids to get out, climb trees, and ride their bikes to their friends’ houses. Andrea also believes those are the things that kids need to build resilience. 

When to Allow Phones & Social Media

Haidt and Andrea agree that phones should not be allowed until high school. This idea is gaining traction among parents who are collectively saying that they’re going to wait until high school to hand over a phone.  

Another guideline Haidt recommended is for kids to be 16 to get social media. This age is when they’re starting to drive, get jobs, and take control of their lives.  

Andrea believes every child is different, and social media affects people differently in different ways, even adults.

“16 at least gives us a baseline of let’s wait until our kids are more emotionally mature and ready,” Andrea said.  

The Idea of Phone-Free Schools

Another way of gaining momentum is the idea of phone-free schools. Many schools have policies where phones can’t be seen, but if you walk in any school, the kids are pulling them out.  

Andrea shared that other countries, like France and Italy, are starting to make bans on phones in schools. Global organizations have come out and said that the best thing for our students in this learning environment is to completely have the phones put away in the morning. 

The conversation around the impact of technology on children’s mental health is gaining momentum, with help from the new book “The Anxious Generation.” But Andrea believes it’s going to take parental support for these changes to take effect. The schools and government can only do so much. 

 Parents can learn more about managing screen time at, which also offers an evaluation that parents can use when their kids start asking for a phone. This will help parents prepare their kids for this big step. 

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