Jonathan Haidt joined Brian Kilmeade to discuss his new book “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness“. Haidt hit on how the constant bombardment children get from being on their smartphones and social media has had a huge transformation in their lives and sets them up for anxiety, depression and mental illness. Haidt praised Governor Ron DeSantis for signing a bill that will prohibit children younger than 14 from joining social media in Florida. Haidt believes children should not have a smartphone until high school and no social media until 16. Haidt says the reason he believes this is because people do not appreciate how fast a child’s brain is rewiring itself from around age 11 or 12 and then into puberty around age 15 to 16. In the early years of puberty, Haidt explains how they are a child’s most vulnerable years and there’s research showing that girls are most damaged by social media between the ages of 11 to 13 while boys might be a little bit later, ages 14 to 15. Haidt also points to a problem with today’s younger generation not having more adventures outdoors as previous generations. The lack of active interaction with people and physical activities, especially sports, has also stunted children’s growth. Haidt stressed that you don’t want children taking no risk and have zero broken bones because that means they are not taking any risks, they are not riding bicycles, they’re not swinging from ropes and are not climbing anything. With the data showing kids are more risk averse, Haidt says that will have huge ramifications for the country leading to children bring less likely to start businesses to take entrepreneurial risks.

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