Can Teens Survive the Digital World?


In this episode of the Catalysts for Change podcast, host Jill Shah speaks with Jon Haidt about his research on social media’s impact on teenage mental health. They discuss childhood and adolescent development, psychological sex differences in puberty, how to improve social media, the harm of performative behavior, and more.

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Jonathan received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. His research examines the intuitive foundations of morality and how morality varies across cultural and political divisions. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis and the New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind (with Greg Lukianoff). He has given four TED Talks, and in 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since 2018 Jonathan has been studying the contributions of social media to the decline of teen mental health and the rise of political dysfunction. He is currently writing two books: Kids in Space: Why Teen Mental Health Is Collapsing and Life after Babel: Adapting to a World We Can No Longer Share.

Jill Shah is the president of the Shah Family Foundation, which supports transformative work at the intersection of education, healthcare, and community. Shah hosts the national podcast, Catalysts for Change, and co-hosts the hyper-local Boston podcast Last Night at School Committee. She is a graduate of Providence College where she earned a BA in English. Before launching the Foundation, Jill was an entrepreneur in Boston and New York, involved in internet start-ups. She was cited as one of Boston’s 100 most influential Bostonians in Boston Magazine, and serves on the boards of the Red Sox Foundation, the Overseers of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Overseers of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Belmont Hill School, and the Winsor School.