Should You Allow Your Kid to Use a Smart Phone? (Special Podcast Highlight)

Are your kids or grandkids addicted to their screens? You may be concerned for their well-being!


Drew visits with Dr. Leonard Sax as they explore the pervasive impact of smartphones and social media on children and teens. The discussion is ignited by the insights from Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Anxious Generation, which paints a grim picture of how modern tools are not just gadgets anymore but are reshaping the very fabric of childhood, seeding an epidemic of mental health issues. It’s very scary.


Drew gives alarming statistics that reveal a stark increase in depression, especially among girls, and a significant rise in emergency room visits due to self-harm and suicide rates since smartphones became ubiquitous in 2010. The digital age, rather than being a place of connectivity, has morphed into a catalyst for isolation and mental health decline. The evidence is heartbreaking and needs to be taken seriously. 


Key Takeaways from Dr. Sax:


Digital Detox: Dr. Sax advocates for delayed introduction of smartphones (not before ninth grade), bans phones in schools, and postpones social media exposure until age 16.


Outdoor Play vs. Screen Stay: Sometimes parents might understandably think that outdoor play is more dangerous for their kids, but Dr. Sax couldn’t disagree more. He recommends that children spend more time outside and less time on screens indoors. 


Parenting in the Digital Age: Dr. Sax also touches on the role of parents in navigating this complex landscape. He suggests using parental monitoring apps and engaging in real-world interactions with children as opposed to digital pacification.


Educational Insights: A caller from Indiana, a middle school teacher, supports the idea of restricting smartphone use in schools. 


Catholic Perspective: Dr. Sax presents the unique position of Catholic schools in addressing these issues, where they can integrate teachings from Scripture and Church doctrine to foster healthier lifestyles and moral grounding among students.


It’s a crucial wake-up call to the dangers lurking behind screens, urging parents, educators, and communities to reclaim the helm of childhood development from digital overlords. You can yourself with the knowledge to safeguard the mental health and well-being of the next generation! 

Drew Mariani is an award-winning journalist, writer and broadcaster. He currently hosts The Drew Mariani Show™ reaching a potential audience of 220 million people. His 3-hour daily program offers a unique insight on the most important issues of the day and a platform for dialogue with listeners and newsmakers.