from The Free Press

Jonathan Haidt: Smartphones Rewired Childhood. Here’s How to Fix It.

Phones have made kids sedentary, solitary, anxious, and depressed. But, says the author and psychologist, we can reverse the damage.

By Jonathan Haidt

Smartphones have made America’s youth lonely, distracted, anxious and depressed, Jonathan Haidt writes. But we can reverse the damage.
The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 had a cataclysmic effect on childhood, which we are only just beginning to understand. (Photo by Adam Berry via Redferns)

Suppose a salesman in an electronics store told you he had a new product for your 11-year-old daughter that’s very entertaining—even more so than television—with no harmful side effects of any kind, but also no more than minimal benefits beyond the entertainment value. How much would this product be worth to you?

You can’t answer this question without knowing the opportunity cost. In Walden, his 1854 reflection on simple living, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The cost of a thing is the amount of. . . life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

What the smartphone user gives up is time. A huge amount of it.

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