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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Jump for opportunities to help anxious teens


Women in the 40-plus Double Dutch Club get together to relive old memories and create new ones while jumping!

Back in March, PN began receiving requests to review a new book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt titled “The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness.”

We also were encouraged to watch a 30-minute eye-opening interview with Haidt that appeared on PBS’ “Firing Line” in late March. www.pbs.org/video/jonathan-haidt-xp90dy.


Since we were busy trying to get our April publication ready for the press, we put the information aside. Our calendar was filling up with previews of upcoming events, including a screening of “My Sister Liv,” hosted by KidsMatter and Max’s Mission on April 23 at Metea Valley High School. If only we’d made the connection.

Then in April, PN readers began sending copies of a Wall Street Journal story titled “Can We Save Our Children from Smartphones” by Peggy Noonan with her thoughts about Haidt’s new book.

And we recognized that Haidt is opening doors for parents’ groups and individuals to work together, mindful that a smartphone in the hands of a young teenager can be unhealthy.

Haidt suggests four reforms to help “free the anxious generation.”

  • No smartphones before high school, only flip-phones without internet capability.
  • No social media before age 16. Let teens’ brains develop first.
  • All schools from elementary through high school should be phone-free zones—students can store phones in their lockers.
  • Bring back unsupervised play. Only in that way will kids be free to naturally develop social skills and become self-governing.

And wouldn’t you know? During a morning at the 95th Street Fry Family YMCA on April 20, we became acquainted with a group called “40-Plus Double Dutch Club.” The enthusiasm of these women, ages 40 to 73, for jumping rope, hula hoops and other childhood play was a timely flashback. They reinforced the need for spirited physical activity and simply connecting in person with other individuals via friendship, fitness, fun and fellowship.

Thanks for reading and watching the video on PBS.


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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.


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