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Expert Weighs In On Age Appropriate Devices For Children

Photo from Bruce Mars via Unsplash

Expert Weighs In On Age-Appropriate Devices For Children

By Movieguide® Staff

Bestselling author and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt sat down with TODAY WITH HODA & JENNA to discuss the role smartphone use has in the rates of adolescent depression. He lays down guidelines for giving kids age-appropriate devices.

“So you can say phones are here to stay. Cars are here to stay, but we don’t let 11-year-olds drive them,” Haidt said. He suggests delaying giving young kids smartphones and finding other ways for kids to contact parents when away from home.

So, what devices are appropriate for each age group? Haidt says:

In his latest book “The Anxious Generation,” Haidt connects the loss of a play-based childhood and the rise of the phone-based childhood. “When kids are rooted in real relationships, they are not washed away by social media,” he said.

Haidt believes children need time to turn off screens and have much-needed playtime.

“We’re overprotecting in [the real world], and I’m saying, lighten up, let your kids out! And we’re underprotecting in another, and I’m saying, don’t let your kids spend nine hours a day on the Internet talking with strange men. It’s just not a good idea,” he said.

Movieguide previously reported on how parents can protect their children from the dangers of smartphones:

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of the book “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness,” believes that social media and smartphones are creating a mental health crisis for teens.

He’s launching a campaign to protect youth from the dangers of excessive screen time. He said:

The overwhelming feeling I get from the families of both boys and girls is that they are trapped and powerless in the face of the biggest mental health crisis in history for their children. What should they – what should we – do?

Haidt’s research revealed that mental health declined for young people and teens after the 2007 invention of the smartphone when kids discovered social media and moved their lives online. He argues that between 2010 and 2015, adolescent life was rewired.

“In 2010, almost everyone had a flip phone. They had no Instagram account because it was just invented that year. They had no high-speed data, no high-speed internet, and they had to pay for their internet usage. They had to pay for each text. So a 13- or 14-year-old kid in the year 2010 was not online all day long,” he said.

“But over the next few years, Instagram becomes very popular. The front-facing camera comes out [on iPhones] in 2010. So now photographs are much more of yourself. Most people get high-speed internet, most people get an unlimited data plan. And video games get much more immersive with multiplayer online games that thrive on the high-speed internet.”


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