Saturday, July 28, 2018

Playtime and mental health studies

Rates of anxiety and depression among teens in the U.S. have been rising for years. According to one study, nearly one in three adolescents (ages 13-18) now meets the criteria for an anxiety disorder, and in the latest results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 32 percent of teens reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. "Kids are play-deprived nowadays, that is, playing without screens or supervision. These days free play is on the decline,  and so are the social and emotional skills that come with it. Part of the problem is parents who worry that unsupervised play is just too risky. Kids should be in the driver's seat, learning to manage their work, their time and, ideally, being able to pursue their own interests. That freedom  helps them develop internal motivation in a way that rewards and grades just can't.

Youth risk behavior survey. (2017). Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control.
Merikangas, K., et al. (2011). Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in US adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980-989.

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