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The Anxious Generation

by Jonathan Haidt

Book list Portable telephones were originally celebrated as a way to stay connected to friends and family. But in the early 2010s, with the onset of smartphones and their easy access to the internet, children’s brains were being effectively rewired, shifting from "play-based" to "phone-based." Parents, who worked to keep their children safe from outdoor play and predators, now allowed their kids to stroll unfettered through the internet. Excessive phone use can lead to social deprivation, sleep deprivation, attention fragmentation, and addiction. For young women, Haidt writes, it can lead to depression; for young men, it can lead to existing in their own separate realities. The author admits to some benefits of online use for children, including lower rates of injury and alcohol use and a measure of intellectual stimulation, but the pluses are overshadowed by the loss of social interactions and life experiences. Academic Haidt (The Coddling of the American Mind, 2018) backs up his claims with scientific studies and graphics, and presents plans to limit the effects of smartphones by large tech companies, schools, and parents. This is a practical look at a vital topic.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.