The Decline of Play and Rise of Mental Disorders

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Photo ©2003 by SmartSign [CC-by-2.0]

Young mammals practice social, emotional, physical, and mental skills by playing. And mammals with the largest brains play the most, and that’s how they learn. Children who play turn out to be generally brighter, happier, more resilient, cooperative, etc. Play makes life worthwhile. Play for children is self-controlled and self-directed. However, over the past 50 years, children have stopped playing outside, which has a direct correlation to the rise of mental disorders. There has been an increase of narcissism, and decrease in empathy and creativity. Many suffer from depression and anxiety; the numbers today are over 4x the rate from 1950. There has been an increase in fear among parents and a decline in the sense that young people have control over their lives. How can we solve this problem? Well, I think there are many ways that could fix this. There should be more places for children to play, and neighborhood watch programs and networks set up for safety of kids. We do need better school, but we definitely do not need more school. I think more people need to realize that life is for our enjoyment and we can learn and grow and develop good qualities as we pursue that joy.

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