Dr. Jonathan Haidt: How Smartphones & Social Media Impact Mental Health & the Realistic Solutions

June 23, 2024

In this episode, my guest is Dr. Jonathan Haidt, PhD, professor of social psychology at New York University and bestselling author on how technology and culture impact the psychology and health of kids, teens, and adults. We discuss the dramatic rise of suicide, depression, and anxiety as a result of replacing a play-based childhood with smartphones, social media, and video games.

He explains how a screen-filled childhood leads to challenges in psychological development that negatively impact learning, resilience, identity, cooperation, and conflict resolution — all of which are crucial skills for future adult relationships and career success. We also discuss how phones and social media impact boys and girls differently and the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of how smartphones alter basic brain plasticity and function.

Dr. Haidt explains his four recommendations for healthier smartphone use in kids, and we discuss how to restore childhood independence and play in the current generation.

This is an important topic for everyone, young or old, parents and teachers, students and families, to be aware of in order to understand the potential mental health toll of smartphone use and to apply tools to foster skill-building and reestablish healthy norms for our kids.

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