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

The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness By Jonathan Haidt Cover Image
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Description


THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

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.

“Erudite, engaging, combative, crusading.” —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.” —Wall Street Journal

"[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

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.

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…


“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)

“If this important book rings enough alarms (wait, or is that just my phone pinging?) to make politicians impose a genuine social media ban on children, I believe most parents would be happy and most teenagers happier.” —Helen Rumbelow, The Times (UK, Book of the Week)

"Haidt sets out inarguable evidence that smartphones are fuelling an anxiety epidemic among young people—and big tech must do more to reverse it…an extremely important and compelling read that is recommended not only to parents but to anyone who has felt increasingly pressurised by technology…I can’t recommend this book highly enough; everyone should read it. It is a game-changer for society." —Stella O'Malley, Irish Independent

“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