A new book was just released by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt (aff link) and although I haven’t read it yet, news reports are claiming the information to be sobering.

Data taken from 2010 and 2015 shows we have shifted from a play-based childhood to a phone based childhood in just 5 short years.

“I call smartphones ‘experience blockers,’ because once you give the phone to a child, it’s going to take up every moment that is not nailed down to something else,” says Haidt.

Although smartphones have been around for a while, when it relates to how they effect kids long-term, we don’t have enough years of data, and the data we do have isn’t painting a pretty picture.

I don’t think we have fully grasped the unintended consequences of smartphones. They are so useful. They make our lives easier and offer so many modern conveniences. And yet with each passing day we are becoming more and more dependent on them in our lives. Even more important to note is our limited research is showing childhood is being heavily impacted in negative ways.

This quote speaks volumes. We are living in an age where parents are probably more protective than they’ve ever been (here are my thoughts on living dangerously) and yet we hand them devices they aren’t mature enough to manage and we hope for the best. Even with the most locked down devices, kids are still so vulnerable online.

I think we can all agree helmets are important and seat belts save lives. Years of research says they both offer physical protection and its frowned upon to go against those suggestions. But what are we doing to protect our kids emotionally and mentally? What can we do to give them the best chance at becoming resilient adults?

Limited research is telling us in order to protect our kids, we need to pump the breaks on screens and phones and social media and video games. Pump the breaks. We need to slow down the effects. We need to protect our children – the need online helmets!