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The detrimental effects of excessive screen time on children's brains, according to a social psychologist

Updated: May 1

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt "discusses the 'great rewiring' of children’s brains, why social-media companies are to blame, and how to reverse course."

In the recent New Yorker interview article, Jonathan Haidt Wants You to Take Away Your Kid’s Phone, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt discusses into the harmful impacts of smartphone usage on adolescent mental health. Haidt says that smartphones, with their constant access to social media and other digital distractions, have become addictive and contribute to a long list of psychological issues in young people.

He points out that smartphones have transformed the social landscape for adolescents, replacing face-to-face interactions with digital communication. This shift, he argues, has led to a decline in empathy and social skills amongst youth. Furthermore, the addictive nature of smartphones, driven by the instant gratification provided by likes, comments, and notifications, has exacerbated mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Effects of screen time on children

To address these issues, Haidt advocates for parents to take a proactive role in managing their children's smartphone usage. He suggests implementing strict rules, such as banning smartphones from bedrooms and restricting access to social media until high school. By setting clear boundaries and limits on screen time, parents can help mitigate the negative effects of smartphone addiction.

Additionally, Haidt emphasizes the role of schools in promoting healthier technology usage. He suggests prioritizing face-to-face interaction over digital communication in educational settings and fostering an environment where students can develop strong interpersonal skills.

Haidt is the author of the popular book, The Coddling of the American Mind, as well as the recently released The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness, which hit the No. 1 spot on the New York Times’ hardcover nonfiction best-seller list.

You can read the full New Yorker interview here.


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Maestro classics offers a screen-free solution

This approach encourages active listening and sparks children's imaginations as they follow along with the stories and music. Instead of staring at a screen, kids can let their minds wander as they absorb the music and narratives presented by Maestro Classics.

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