Errors in The Anxious Generation

By: Jon Haidt and Zach Rausch

June 8, 2024


​We were very careful in our scholarship. We double- and triple-checked academic references, quotes, stories about young people who struggle due to social media, and anything else we could find.  

Nonetheless, nobody and nothing is perfect. On this page, we present two kinds of errors: 1) true mistakes and 2) statements that we would like to modify based on knowledge gained after the book's publication in March 2024.

1) True Mistakes

1.1. p. 236: The Louisiana pornography law.

I (Jon) said that a 2023 law “required sites whose content is more than one-third pornographic to verify that visitors were over 18, using the state’s digital wallet app to present their Louisiana driver’s license.” Soon after publication, Rep. Laurie Schlegel contacted me to tell me that I was wrong about what the law required. Here is the relevant part of her email: 

Your book states that Louisiana's law, in 2023, required users to upload their driver’s licenses, leading to Pornhub blocking access for Louisiana residents. This is not quite accurate. While the law became effective Jan 2023, it passed in 2022 and allowed for multiple methods of age verification. One method to verify a user’s age, which Pornhub decided to utilize, was the LA wallet app. LA Wallet is a third-party system that verifies age without storing personal data or requiring direct upload of identification to the website. It does not send any identifying information to the websites; just the course age that the user is over 18, thus protecting people’s privacy and identity. Our system more closely aligns with the model you advocated for as a preferred method instead of one to be discouraged.

This approach has not only been effective in our state but also respects user privacy and minimizes data exposure, differing significantly from the direct upload of identification to a site you mentioned. In addition, because of this option in Louisiana, Pornhub decided to comply with our age verification laws and not block access to their site in Louisiana. I think we are one of the only age verification states where they have not pulled out of and instead decided to comply with our law.

This is very exciting. Louisiana actually did allow for multiple verification methods, using third-party (non-government) methods, and it seems to be working! I’ll update the text of the ebook and book over the next few months. For a review of the law and what it requires, see here.

2) Statements we'd like to modify

[To come]

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