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Is the Decline of Free Play Causing an Epidemic of Childhood Depression? (New at Reason)

Boston College psychologist Peter Gray says a cultural shift in child rearing is having dire consequences.

"School has become an abnormal setting for children," says Peter Gray, a professor of psychology at Boston College. "Instead of admitting that, we say the children are abnormal."

Gray, who is the author of the 2016 Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, says that a cultural shift towards a more interventionist approach to child rearing is having dire consequences for the well-being of kids. "Over the same period of time that there has been a gradual decline in play," he told Reason's Nick Gillespie, "there are well documented, gradual, but ultimately huge increases in a variety of mental disorders in childhood—especially depression and anxiety."

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