The anxious generation

The recently published book The Anxious Generation, by psychologist Jonathan Haidt, analyzes the effects of social networks on the quality of life of children and young people in different countries. The study addresses the importance of recreational activities during early childhood to aid cognitive development, and how prolonged use of media has a considerable impact on sleep quality, increased rates of attention deficit, feelings of isolation, social comparison and perfectionism. The author also highlights that these effects generated by the media affect girls more than boys. Throughout the text, the author offers strategies that can be adopted by families and teachers, in addition to government measures aimed at reconnecting with playful forms of leisure and learning.

In an article published on the Yale School of Medicine website, in line with Haidt’s book, indicates the harmful effects on the mental health of children and young people with the excessive use of social networks. According to a study published in 2023 by surgeon Vivek Murthy there is concrete evidence that social networks are affecting the mental health of young people. However, as indicated by the research, this is a complex topic, as the use of social networks and media in general also have positive qualities, and the challenge for parentes/guardians is to be able to identify the balance of time/motivation allocated to technology. Published in the format of a guide, among the suggestions highlighted by the research, here are some of them,: 1) Determine the age at which the child/young person will be able to access social networks; 2) Encourage that electronic equipment is not used in the bedroom, in order to reduce the impact on sleep quality; 3) Make it clear to children and young people that parents/guardians are open to dialogue, and that making mistakes is natural; 4) Adopt a respectful approach that is in tune with the teenager’s personality in order to encourage exchange and 5) The process can be facilitated when parents, as well as children, adopt similar practices.

On the Annie Casey Foundation blog, the article dedicated to the topic highlights that faced with the countless challenges posed by social networks, it is necessary to think in a transversal and joint way, between public policy makers, civil society, and researchers, among others, in strategies aimed at creating safe virtual environments for children and young people.




Haidt, J. (2024). The anxious generation. How the great rewiring of childhood is causing an epidemic of mental health illness. USA: Penguin Press.


How Social Media Affects Your Teen’s Mental Health: A Parent’s Guide > News > Yale Medicine

Photo credit: Unsplash

Mais informarções em