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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Can Free Play Prevent Depression and Anxiety In Kids?

From KQED's Blog "Mind/Shift"
How we will learn.

By Katrina Schwartz
June 29, 2014

Over the past 50-60 years, play time in kids’ lives has been drastically cut. School days and years are longer and parents often schedule enrichment activities for their children instead of giving them space to direct their own play. Children are rarely given the freedom to direct their own activities, leading to a persistent rise in children feeling that they have no control over their lives.

And, while correlation doesn’t prove causation, Dr. Peter Gray, who has been studying play for years, says there’s strong evidence that in this case, the decline in play is leading to a rise in depression and acute anxiety among young people.

Check out his TEDx talk for all the details on this fascinating area of research. Read more about play here.





In this talk, Gray compellingly brings attention to the reality that over the past 60 years in the U.S., there has been a gradual but, overall dramatic decline in children's freedom to play with other children, without adult direction. Over this same period, there has been a gradual but overall dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, suicide, and narcissism in children and adolescents. Based on his own and others' research, Dr. Gray documents why free play is essential for healthy social and emotional development and outlines steps through which we can bring free play back to children's lives.

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