Boston College Psychologist Peter Gray writes for Aeon about the impact of the gradual erosion of children’s’ play in the United States. “Over the same decades that children’s play has been declining, childhood ‘mental disorders’ have been increasing.”
I think this is a really important article! It suggests our sharp increases in anxiety in our culture relate to not enough time spent playing.
I also think “going mad” can in some sense be related to an attempt to get back to play – see http://recoveryfromschizophrenia.org/2013/06/madness-and-play-exploring-the-boundary/
I think this might have a little to do with why doctors have such a difficult time distinguishing ‘real disease’ from ‘play disease’ these days. Get those stethoscopes out laddies, there’s a heart in there somewhere, or so I’ve heard it rumored anyway. Anxiety rates overall, in my view, would surely decline if children had more opportunities to experience ‘play anxiety’. ‘Play anxiety’ is a cinch.
This is a fantastic article and helps make our argument that mental illness is not a function of brain as much it is a function of society and culture. It appears that our unwillingness to let our kids make and learn from their own decisions is part of what is making them anxious, depressed and ineffective. Worth reading!
The same thing could be said about adults
Over the same decades that adults play and personal liberty has been declining, adult ‘mental disorders’ have been increasing.
Some people have named it “the war on fun”.
For example many people are traveling by air this holiday, remember a few decades ago when people smoked and drank during the flight and air planes had a fun party atmosphere ? Today air travel is just a major drag, no longer a party not even close but a nasty chore to endure.
The Nanny and police state has screwed adults but check this out:
8 Reasons Children of the 1970s Should All Be Dead