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June 24, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Nashville Parent Recommends “The Anxious Generation”

A new and important book sheds light on the power of social media and how kids are not equipped to handle it.

Nashville Parent recommends lots of books in our magazine’s pages. But never has a book sat us up like this one. We bring to your attention, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness (Penguin Random House; 2024) by Jonathan Haidt.

Nashville Parent Recommends “Anxious”

In recent social media posts, Nashville Parent asked, “Do you let your kids use Snapchat?” “Do you allow your kids to use TikTok?” Also, “Do you monitor your child’s social media?” Brave responders said, no, no and yes.

Concerns about what social media is widespread. Nobody knows what to do. Nobody wants to be blamed for what’s happening to kids.
Social psychologist and Anxious Generation author, Jonathan Haidt, says we must pay attention. Worries about the influence of  Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and the like are not unfounded. Past parental hysteria over the evils of rock and roll, television or even video games, doesn’t compare to social media’s damaging effects. Haidt cites studies confirming that kids are under-protected on social media and over-protected in life. Many parents give kids less freedom in the physical world (and more time in the virtual). Haidt shows that for many kids — and especially girls — social media devastates. Just as questions of identity loom large in the teen years (adolescence is hard enough) social media causes deep and painful comparisons to other sunnier, more popular lives. That hurts.

Generation X parents say Baby Boomer parents are out of touch. Gen X parents don’t want to hear that they aren’t protecting the innocence of childhood.

Haidt’s important new book — already a bestseller — adds bolsters the parent comments on our social media posts. Yet, the parents themselves? On social media. We can all bicker over just about anything and everything. Can we not agree — with all that we have learned and all of the relative evidence — that we need to better protect children from more fully formed brain endeavors?



About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.