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Monday 15th July - 17:20 BST

IAI Live July: The Great Rewiring of Our Lives

Have we damaged childhood forever?

Jonathan Haidt, Katharine Birbalsingh, Emily Edlynn, Christopher Ferguson

Join IAI Live July for an online programme of debate, discussion, and discovery with the world's leading thinkers on the critical issues of our time taking place in our online festival venue. IAI Live July, featuring world-renowned speakers Jonathan Haidt, Katharine Birbalsingh, Emily Edlynn and Christopher Ferguson, tackles the questions of play, childhood development and social media head-on. Book a pay-by-view ticket or purchase a Premium Live subscription so you can access July and all future events!

'The true object of all human life is play' proclaimed G.K. Chesterton. But in today's world, critics argue there's a danger that we have replaced genuine play and the open exploration of the natural world with simulated and rule governed fun which is profoundly damaging. Studies show the time children play outside has plummeted by more than two thirds in just one generation. Since the arrival of social media, and the decline of free play, anxiety has increased by 92% for those between 18-25.

Is active and exploratory play central to the human condition and are structured screen based alternatives  ill-conceived from the start? Are adults equally at risk of succumbing to addictive but ultimately damaging artificial distractions? Or can we develop artificial forms of play that have the same rewarding and life enhancing qualities that we associate with an open and playful engagement with the natural world?