19 Is the New 60 | Lenore Skenazy (WSJ)

Lenore Skenazy; 19 Is the New 60; In The Wall Street Journal (WSJ); 2017-08-10.
Teaser: Adults should stop stealing away the time kids need to play.

Original Sources

Nineteen Year Olds As Sedentary As Sixty Year Olds Study Suggests; press release; Johns Hopkins University; 2017.
Teaser: Teen years represent highest risk for inactivity; increases in activity levels only seen in 20-somethings

Vijay R. Varma, Debangan Dey, Andrew Leroux, Junrui Di, Jacek Urbanek, Luo Xiao, Vadim Zipunnikov, “Re-evaluating the effect of age on physical activity over the lifespan,” In Preventive Medicine, 2017-06-01.


  • <pull-quote>When it comes to physical activity, 19 is the new 60. </pull-quote>
  • The Study. That. Shows.
    • 2017-06.
    • N=12,500
    • panel
    • tracking device logging & diaries
    • Authors
      • Vadim Zipunnikov, professor, Johns Hopkins University
      • and others
  • <quote>Correlation isn’t causation</quote>, attributed to Lenore Skenazy. Yes, she actually uttered that in the essay.
  • Peter Gray, professor, psychology, Boston College


  • loss of “locus of control,”
  • strong connection (a link? as it were) between happiness and feeling in control of life.


  • Vadim Zipunnikov, professor, Johns Hopkins University
  • Peter Gray, professor, psychology, Boston College


The Danger of Back to School | Psychology Today

Peter Gray; The Danger of Back to School; In Freedom to Learn of Psychology Todahy; 2014-08-07.
Teaser: Children’s Mental Health Crises Plummet in Summer and Rise in the School Year


Peter Gray; Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life; Basic Books; 2013-03-05; 288 pages; Amazon:0465025994; Kindle: $12, paper: $8+SHT.




In Psychology Today


The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders | Psychology Today

The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders; Peter Gray; In Psychology Today; 2010-01-26.
Teaser: There’s a reason kids are more anxious and depressed than ever.



  1. J. Twenge, et al. (2010). Birth cohort increases in psychopathology among young Americans, 1938-2007: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of the MMPI. In press, Clinical Psychology Review 30, 145-154.
    Nearby: Jean M. Twenge; Time Period and Birth Cohort Differences in Depressive Symptoms in the U.S., 1982–2013; In Social Indicators Research; 2015-04; 36 pages; draft; paywall. separately filled.
  2. J. Twenge et al. (2004). Its beyond my control: A cross-temporal meta-analysis of increasing externality in locus of control, 1960-2002. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8, 308-319.
  3. J. H. Pryor, et al. (2007). The American freshman: Forty-year trends, 1966-2006. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute.
  4. Hara Estroff Marano. A Nation of Wimps
  5. Lenore Skenazy Free Range Kids.
  6. K. C. Herman, et al. (2009). Childhood depression: Rethinking the role of school. Psychology in the Schools, 46, 433-446.
  7. M. Csikszentmihalyi, J. Hunter. (2003). Happiness in everyday life: The uses of experience sampling. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 185-199.

The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents | Peter Gray

Peter Gray; The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents; In American Journal of Play; Volume 3, Number 4; Spring, 2011; 21 pages.


Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and young adults. This article documents these historical changes and contends that the decline in play has contributed to the rise in the psychopathology of young people. Play functions as the major means by which children

  1. develop intrinsic interests and competencies;
  2. learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control, and follow rules;
  3. learn to regulate their emotions;
  4. make friends and learn to get along with others as equals; and
  5. experience joy.

Through all of these effects, play promotes mental health.

Key words: anxiety; decline of play; depression; feelings of helplessness; free play; narcissism; psychopathology in children; suicide


  • <quote>Clinicians know for certain that anxiety and depression correlate strongly with individuals’ sense of control or lack of control over their own lives.</quote>

How do Unschoolers Turn Out? | MindShift

How do Unschoolers Turn Out?; |; In MindShift; 2014-09-02.

tl;dr => Self-attested feelings about unschooling; participants really like it; there are no disadvantages.

<quote>In sum: “The findings of our survey suggest that unschooling can work beautifully if the whole family, including the children, buy into it, if the parents are psychologically healthy and happy, and if the parents are socially connected to the broader world and facilitate their children’s involvement with that world. It can even work well when some of these criteria are not fully met.”</quote>