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Interview With Oxford University Lecturer Anton Jager; Interview With Council On Foreign Relations Fellow For Europe And Historian And Political Scientist Liana Fix; Interview With Brown University Former President And "Up Home: One Girl's Journey" Author Ruth Simmons; Interview With The New York Times Contributing Editor And "This Is 18" Author Jessica Bennett; Interview With American Psychological Association Chief Science Officer Mitch Prinstein. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired October 04, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

The far-right marches into the many streams from America's MAGA, to Sweden, and Italy, and beyond. We look at what's driving this trend now.

Also, ahead --


RUTH SIMMONS, FORMER PRESIDENT, BROWN UNIVERSITY: When you educate yourself, when you succeed, when you advance, you're advancing your entire



AMANPOUR: -- from the cotton fields of East Texas to the first Black Ivy League president. My conversation with Brown University's Ruth Simmons, as

she traces her journey with a new memoir, "Up Home."

Plus --


ADDI: Hi, I'm Addi. I'm 13 years old and I live in Norton Shores, Michigan.

ANNA: I'm Anna. I'm finishing up middle school near Denver, Colorado.


AMANPOUR: -- teenage angst today. "The New York Times" Jessica Bennett and Psychologist Mitch Prinstein tell Hari Sreenivasan about the long-term

effects of social media on kids' brains.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

A show of support at a crucial time as E.U. foreign ministers gathered in Kyiv this week for their first ever meeting outside the union. But nerves

are jangling across the West after far-right Republicans in the U.S. trying to shut down government threatened funding for Ukraine in its fight against

Russia's invasion.

And after Putin's sympathizer, Robert Fico, led his party to victory in Slovakia. While on the campaign trail, the former prime minister had said

that if elected, he would stop sending weapons to Kyiv, appealing to a rise in anti-western and pro-Russian sentiment.

That is something the far-right has also tapped into across the continent, from Hungry to Italy, to Finland, to Germany. In a recent "New York Times"

column, Oxford University History Professor Anton Jager says, "Europe's extreme-right tide has been a long time coming."

I spoke to him and to Liana Fix of the Council on Foreign Relations who says, political leaders in the U.S. and Europe should try to fireproof

financial and military aid to Ukraine as part of their long-term budgets.

AMANPOUR: Welcome both of you to the program. Anton, you're sitting with here me, and I'm going to ask you as well, Liana, what you make of the

latest, sort of, eruption of far-right? What signal does this send?

ANTON JAGER, LECTURER, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: I think it speaks to a really striking time in the last four and three years is that the far-right has

been on the rise in Europe at least 30, 40 years but it's always quite a gradual ascend. But we've seen since COVID and the Russian invasion of

Ukraine is that there's been a real jump in that now the far-right is becoming a unified force across Europe and it's also becoming a pretty

normal force of government, and this is quite a new development.

AMANPOUR: OK. I'll get back to you on that. Normal force of government. Liana, that sounds different. I mean, the far-right was always seen to be

something that had to be controlled by the mainstream.


European far-right parties are trying to tone down the West and are trying to appeal more moderate to the electorate. We see this with Marine Le Pen

in France. We also see it obviously with Giorgia Meloni in Italy, which pursues now pro-western and pro-Ukrainian position.

So, there has been a move to the mainstream by the far-right. There are some exceptions though. In Germany, for example, the far-right AfD is

becoming ever more radical and getting approval, more approval at the same time. And the vote in Slovakia was certainly something which was closed.

Progressives in Slovakia have not been too far behind Robert Fico. But for Ukraine, this is certainly a major setback.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you before I go back to Anton, why now? Why is the AfD becoming more radical and more popular? How does that work?

FIX: This is surprising. The AfD has not gained this kind of popularity. It is now up 20 percent, the second strongest party in opinion poll in

Germany. It has not been in this position during the pandemic. It has not been in the position during the war and the height of the energy crisis.

What it is really benefitting now is from the crisis fatigue from the long act of crisis and how much dissatisfaction with the government, which is

providing further ground for the AfD.


AMANPOUR: And, Anton, do you think that's a little bit what, I don't know, Slovakia and others are riding on? Is that that sentiment and why suddenly

is somebody like Fico in Slovakia benefitting from an anti-Ukraine?

JAGER: Yes. I mean, that might be the case for Slovakia but what we saw in Italy, for example, is that when Meloni got into government with the

Fratelli d'Italia is that she did moderate her rhetoric. She became more pro-NATO. So, far-right parties also have some flexibility on those issues.

I think what is specific about the AfD in Germany is that it's mainly the inflationary crisis. So, Germany has a low wage economy and that means

wages are very sensitive to -- and climate purchasing power. And then, it's also a function of the failure of traditional parties.

So, the success of the AfD is really an effect of traditional parties in capacity to maintain and keep their base. So, it's not necessarily their

own success.

AMANPOUR: OK. But you say and your article was -- you know, basically you say, Europe's extreme right tide has been a long time coming. Why? How?

JAGER: Well, because the factors that are still driving its success today are much older. They don't date to three or four years ago. They're not

just a project -- product, sorry, of the Russian invasion of Ukraine or of the recent inflationary pressures. They go back to the '80s and '90s when

the current European Union was constructed, and that means there's a profound demobilization or profound disaffection with politics that is

overtaking a lot European countries already since the '90s.

So, fewer people are voting, fewer people are members of political parties. And at the same time, pro-market policies have really been dominant in each

country. And in the '90s and 2000s, mainstream parties were still relatively robust and strong and could withstand the effects of those

developments. But I think now the dam is really breaking and the tide that was building up at the time is now just overwhelming them.

AMANPOUR: So, the mainstream is not as able to defend its historic position. Anton's article suggested that the lack of, you know, strong

left-wing parties in unions meant workers were left behind and that, you know, such heavy-duty pro-market capitalist economies simply didn't cater

to these workers. Is that right?

FIX: It is most certainly one of the long-term reasons. But also, again, if we take the example of Germany here, workers are people who don't have work

at the time are only one part, only one-quarter of those that part of the AfD. There's also a large part of the population of at least of those --

whoever is part of the AfD that are in the middle class and have weight of losing their position in the middle class.

So, this kind of fear of going down and yet all economic prosperity is also a major force which is driving the popularity. And I would entirely agree

it is mainly coming from domestic reasons.

AMANPOUR: I want you to play something to both of you from Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of Germany who I spoke to at the U.N. Summit last week.

And she talks about something that you just touched on, migration as well as the other challenges.


ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We see the challenges in this globalized world after COVID. Now, with this brutal war where people feel

insecure and then, we have also the big migration issues. So, yes, this is also about sanctioning internal democracies and again, it's up to

democratic leadership to stand up for values but also understand that people in these times are really worried.


AMANPOUR: So, Anton, what does democratic leadership, like the one she's talking about, do to counter this or to defend against this pressure?

JAGER: Yes. There is a problem with explaining the success of the far-right purely through migration. Because migration is not just a single topic

anymore, it's now a prism or sort of proxy for a lot of other topics. So, the idea that labor market competition or declining wages, the issue of

public services, cultural change, all of that is now channeled through the topic of migration.

And this is something that's not just a natural development, it's also been politically stimulated. So, it's increasingly difficult for European voters

and I think also for politicians to conceive of any issue not through the lens of migration. And what I find unfortunate about Baerbock's comments is

that she does seem to be playing into the same frame.

So, yes, people are worried, but maybe there are ways of talking about the crisis of public services in Germany, for example, that doesn't truly

attribute to migration. So, I think that seems to be a cop-out.

AMANPOUR: Yes. Well, there was more of the interview. And she did actually acknowledge that there needs to be, you know, an answer to economic fears

and legitimate worries as well.


But, Liana, how does a more mainstream democratic leadership deal with the far-right? Do you try to bring them in? Do you try to push them away? What

do you actually do?

FIX: There are two strategies how you can try to deal with the far-right. The first strategy is you isolate it. That's very much what was happening

in Germany for the last years, the so-called firewall that all parties voluntarily signed up to no cooperation with the far-right in Germany at

any level, no toleration. But there's also the other strategy, which says, well, we have to lean into the far-right across Europe. There are parties

that in governments that are tolerated by the far-right or where the far- right is part of the government in Sweden and Finland.

And by sort of leaning into these topics and embracing the far-right, we can tame it and make it more moderate in government. That's a discussion

which is taking place right now in Germany for how long to continue the firewall, that especially Angela Merkel has held up for a really long time

with the Afd. And there's, so far, mixed evidence for what is the most more successful strategy.

AMANPOUR: And, Anton, do you have -- I mean, are there any examples, for instance, of leaning into the far-right and moderating them?

FIX: Well, there are a couple of cases where either the far-right provide coalitional support as they did in the Netherlands or they actually

participate. And as Liana said, the evidence is very mixed. It's not very clear that they moderate their views. So, when Geert Wilders propped up the

coalitions of the liberals, (INAUDIBLE) in the Netherlands, afterwards, another far-right party, naming the Forum for Democracy actually came up

and pushed the entire political spectrum further to the right.

So, even if you don't let them into government or you don't rule with them, you can still adopt many of their talking points. And I think that is

actually what has been happening.

AMANPOUR: And how would you describe what's happened in Sweden, for instance, what's happened in Finland? I mean, the latest elections in

Finland moved much further to the right.

JAGER: Yes, I think the far-right in government doesn't necessarily get punished for policy mistakes. They have a base that doesn't expect that

much in contrast to the left. So, that means that even if they fail in government, they won't necessarily lose the next election.

What does happen is that they initiate a media offensive where they try to make some of their views more dominant and that creates the environment in

which they can win new elections. So, in that sense, keep getting them out of isolation or getting them out of quarantine is often a dangerous option.

AMANPOUR: Wow. That's so interesting. But particularly, Liana, I mean, the way, the way Anton described, you know, their voters don't actually expect

much and keep rewarding them for not delivering much. You could say the same is true of the United States if, indeed, Trump gets back. Well, he's

likely to be the nominee. But if he actually gets back into power. Would you say that that's the same playbook?

FIX: Well, interestingly, many European countries are looking towards the United States and are trying to learn lessons from how the United States is

dealing with Trump and its own domestic polarization for their own strategies and how to deal with far-right parties in Europe.

So, does it really help to bring them into government or are they just continuing populist views, not being accountable to any positions? So, to

some extent, the debate of the United States is giving some guardrails and some guidance to European countries where they do hope to prevent the kind

of polarization that we do see in the United States and also where they hope to prevent the kind of polarization around topics which are of crucial

importance, for instance, support for Ukraine, as we've seen now in Washington, D.C.

AMANPOUR: Yes. So, let's just talk about that. After the -- you know, the whole shutdown debacle, and we know it's been postponed for another 45 days

and Ukraine was a big feature of this whole battle by the right-wing of the of the Republican Party. Donald Trump's former defense secretary, Mark

Esper, who broke with Trumpism was on the Sunday morning programs. And this is what he said about Trumpism around the world and also about what that

says to the rest of the world about America's commitment to democracy. Here's what he said.


MARK ESPER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Vladimir Putin sits in Russia today and he looks across the landscape, and he sees United States of

America, which is unwilling to spend what it needs to on defense. It is now pulling back spending for Ukraine.

We had a vote today in Slovakia, a NATO ally in Central Europe that just picked a prime minister who is pro-Russian and has promised to cut spending

for Ukraine. Look, from his vantage point, the West is fracturing and he's going to continue to wait out the clock and maybe hope that Donald Trump

returns to the presidency.


AMANPOUR: So, Anton, some of those topics we talked about, but what do you think somebody like Putin or Orban or whoever, even the liberal Democrats

are thinking?


JAGER: I'm not sure that all of the far-right we see on the rise in Europe is necessarily good news for Putin. So, as we saw with Meloni, she's

quickly changed her mind. There are, of course, far-right parties, such as peace in Poland, who are actually staunchly pro-NATO. So, I think they're

more the exception than the rule when it comes to appropriate invoices on the far-right.

At the same time, there is a real question now that there is tension inside the United States as to how much they're willing to spend on the continuing

war effort. And that throws up the question of how much Europe is going to spend and how much Europe can remilitarize. And that is a very fractious

and difficult issue internal to European politics, certainly in Germany, because Germany still has a theoretical debt break. So, that means that a

certain level of state spending is simply not allowed, so to speak.

And there's now a discussion whether they need to suspend the debt break, which would also be a bulwark or a policy against the far-right. But it

also ties into the idea of like, yes, what is actually your mistake and what's happening at the moment.

AMANPOUR: Just one final question to you, Liana, the question that I put to Anton about what Mark Esper said about what Putin might be thinking or

other illiberal Democrats when they see what happens in the United States, when they see some of these elections and things happening in Europe, what

do you think? And how much does it threaten the U.S. in terms of being, you know, the global defender of democracy?

FIX: Most certainly, Putin is betting on the U.S. elections. From his perspective, it just doesn't make sense to stop the war earlier, to get

into any talks before the U.S. elections take place, because the U.S. is the most important country and is fulfilling this leadership role in the

Ukraine war.

At the same time, this vote in the U.S. Congress really raises questions of reliability with European partners. In the past, it has been very often

said from the Republican Party that the majority of does support Ukraine, that it will not be held hostage by a minority in the party, and these

kinds of reassurances, which have been told to European partners are now undermined.

So, the question of reliability of the United States of, well, is there a structural shift in the United States foreign policy? Are the years under

Trump just the exception or will they become the new rule? Those are all questions that are on the minds of allies, not only in Europe but also into

Indo-Pacific, in which have truly significance at a time of war where European countries have stepped up for Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: I want to thank you both. Thanks very much for this discussion. Thanks for coming into the studio, Anton Jager.

JAGER: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

Next, an education. Ruth Simmons' humble beginnings sound like something from America's distant past, but thanks to her hard work and some help

along the way, she rose from a sharecropper's daughter to one of the most influential figures in U.S. education as the first black woman to lead an

Ivy League college when she became president of Brown University.

We discussed it all when we sat down in New York around the release of her new memoir, "Up Home" One Girl's Journey."


President Ruth Simmons, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary to think that you were born in Texas, the youngest of 12 siblings, to a family of sharecroppers. They farmed cotton

on somebody else's land.


AMANPOUR: You talk about the luck that you had in your life that brought you from there to here. What do you remember about that moment, growing up

with that -- in that family and the luck that got you here?

SIMMONS: Well, as odd as it may seem to people, especially my students who are mystified by my reflecting on the, -- those times the way I do, I

remember it as largely a very happy time because after all, I was the youngest child of twelve children, two parents, all of whom were together.

They were working in the fields together, they were having meals together, they were doing everything together.

And so, it was -- I think of it as a family time in spite of the extraordinarily burdensome environment that we're in, which is pre civil

rights, deep segregation, poverty, all of those things that people tend to think about. But I was thinking about the fact that I was in the arms of my

family as a child. And that was a wonderful beginning before I even went to school.

AMANPOUR: So, you talk about they were, which means you were not, you were not out there sharecropping.

SIMMONS: I was -- the reality of sharecropping was that everybody was in the field. And so, when my mother --

AMANPOUR: From the age of six even.

SIMMONS: Well, when my mother and father had to go into the field, and everybody in the family had to go into the field, of course, even the

youngest would be in the field, though not hoeing and picking cotton and so forth.


And so, that was part of the tension between me and my older siblings. They complain about how they had to drag me along on their cotton sacks. They've

never let me forget that. But I was in the field but not, obviously, able to do the things that older children were able to do. But it was very

dependent on child labor. People don't talk about that much.

AMANPOUR: I mean, honestly, it reads very 19th century.


AMANPOUR: Not even 20th century.


AMANPOUR: It's really shocking, actually --


AMANPOUR: -- to consider that. And to -- it's shocking.


AMANPOUR: And you are the personification of having, you know, bussed through that. So, I'd like you to actually read from the beginning of your

book which explains not just the serendipity and luck but how you got to where you are.

SIMMONS: OK. This is from the prologue. I was born to be someone else. Someone that is whose life is defined principally by race, segregation, and

poverty. As a young child marked by the sharecropping fate of my parents and the culture that predominated in East Texas in the 1940s and '50s, I

initially saw these factors as limiting what I could do and what I could become, that in the end, I did not become the person I was born to be,

still, at times, confuses and perplexes me.

Throughout my 70 plus years, I've been struggling to understand why the early circumstances of my life did not in the end define me. I've now come

to realize that I have become the person that I am today rather than the person I expected to be because of the people I knew when I was young, my

family, my teachers, my community. They intercepted my modest expectations, boosted my confidence that the future could be different, and sent me on my

way with all the support they could muster.

AMANPOUR: It's incredible and it's an ode to all those people.


AMANPOUR: Was there a moment or a special person?

SIMMONS: There was so many, frankly.


SIMMONS: I always recall -- first of all, my mother was extraordinary. She was telling me things that I didn't understand at the time. Certainly, I

didn't understand the importance that they would have on my life. But she said things like, never think you're better than anybody else. Wow. Respect

everybody. Never allow people, you know, to disrespect you. Those are the kinds of things I grew up with.

But then when I went to school, I remember the very first day I walked into a classroom. Now, keep in mind, I'm living in a shack. No electricity. No

running water. No books. Nothing. So, I walk into my first-grade classroom, and it is bright and it is orderly, and there's a desk for me. I'm coming

from a crowded household where I have no room as the youngest child, right? And there's a desk for me. And then there are books and utensils.

And furthermore, this woman in the classroom has the most wonderful voice. It is cheerful, it's optimistic, and she treats me, this country bumpkin

coming into her class, as if I'm somebody.

AMANPOUR: That's really remarkable.


AMANPOUR: It really is and it --


AMANPOUR: -- stuck for you all those --

SIMMONS: All those years.

AMANPOUR: -- all these years. And I wonder if that, in a way, caused you to feel a little bit like an outsider or an intruder on your families. I'm

going to read another part, which is really interesting, because this kind of sort of separation of experience and opportunity, you know, you said

sometimes it made you feel out of place, uncomfortable.

I wonder whether it did at home. You say, how could I speak of the beautiful train ride to the south of France or the ride along on the Camark

(ph) on horseback without an air of self-importance. I was at once embarrassed to be able to enjoy these experiences when they could not and

concerned that this new life would create a barrier between me and them. That feeling has remained even today. My life is immensely different from

those of most my siblings.

I mean, that's heavy.

SIMMONS: Well, you know, I'm so grateful to have been president to so many first-generation students. Because so many of them are feeling the same

thing. They're having all of these experiences and they know that their family is mired in poverty. Unable to do most of the things they can do.


And it is -- it hampers their experience in a way because there's a certain sadness about that to them. Because they worry that they don't deserve

that, when they -- when everybody else they love is in a different circumstance.

So, I think I felt that way most of my time going through school. And so, I didn't speak of it. I didn't tell people what I was going through. And I

did -- you know, I had a very -- I had a secret life. So, for example. I got on a bus when I was 17, a greyhound bus, and went to Mexico to live

with a Mexican family and to study Spanish, but I don't think I told my family what I was actually doing.

I think they were quite mystified by me, frankly, that I was doing these things. But I couldn't talk about it. Because what would it mean to say,

yes, I'm living in Mexico and I'm going to school every day and learning Spanish, and I couldn't talk about the cultural differences. I couldn't

talk about how it felt to me to be away from the segregated country where I grew up and living in a very different environment.

AMANPOUR: So, you know, there's all sorts of names for that, guilt --


AMANPOUR: -- imposter syndrome.

SIMMONS: Yes. Imposter syndrome.

AMANPOUR: All of that.


AMANPOUR: But imposter syndrome is not a good thing, especially for women.

SIMMONS: Yes. So, what I say is, well, keep in mind that this is a temporary condition. Because when you educate yourself, when you succeed,

when you advance, you're advancing your entire family. And at the time you're going through it, you can't see that as well. And so, I talked to

them about what's going to happen in their lives that will make it feel wonderful that they are able to help their family

AMANPOUR: I guess it's a way of getting into the tragedy of what's unfolding right now with the Supreme Court rolling back affirmative action.

You've obviously testified and done all you can to make sure that didn't happen. But it's happened.

SIMMONS: But it's happened.

AMANPOUR: What is your immediate thought about what that is going to lead to?

SIMMONS: Well, my immediate thought, when I testified at trial in the case leading up to the Supreme Court case, in the final analysis, I said, what

is to become of us as a country? And that's what I think about all the time. What is to become of us? We are a nation of diverse peoples.

AMANPOUR: What is to become of us as a country?

SIMMONS: What is to become of us as a country?

AMANPOUR: And what do you think will?

SIMMONS: Well, you know, I'm extremely hopeful and I have to be hopeful because, just like Ms. Ida May (ph) and all my teachers, at the time I grew

up nothing possible, everything was dark. And yet, there were these teachers who said, let's plan for our future that's different.

How could I believe in that when nothing around me said that my future was going to be different from what I saw? I thought I was going to be a maid.

Well, that's what we have to do for young people today because they're discouraged. They are making plans that suggest that they won't have the


AMANPOUR: Just as Elena Kagan during this whole roll-back and all the -- you know, the rulings, et cetera, was worried, like I'm sure you are, about

a precipitous decline in minority admissions and then, that leading to, you know, rolling back what she calls, these are the pipelines to leadership in

our society, she says, of elite universities and the affirmative action.

So, what is our society -- your society going to do, do you think, to keep those pipelines open to make it and to continue, you know, the opportunity

for diversity?

SIMMONS: In the interim, I believe we'll do what we did before. OK. And people don't remember the before, so that's why I'm here to tell people the

before. So, before affirmative action -- or at the beginning of affirmative action, many universities band together to infuse these settings with


But I'm not an elitist. And I don't believe that that has to take place in a white college, it doesn't have to take place in an Ivy League university.

I am constantly telling people about community colleges, about state institutions, about the wealth of institutions, we have, because I know

from experience that education can take place in lots of environments.

AMANPOUR: What do you think is the consequence of some other universities that people like governor of Florida and others are trying to just stop the

education of black history in America?


SIMMONS: Yes. It's ludicrous, but we've been here before. Now, keep in mind --

AMANPOUR: But are you willing -- you say that several times. Are you willing to take two steps forward and three steps back?

SIMMONS: It's not a question of being willing. It's a question of --

AMANPOUR: Or to accept it.

SIMMONS: Well, of course not. It's not so much a question of that, but an understanding of the evolution of society, culturally, politically and

otherwise, it would be wonderful if it were a straight line. That would be fantastic. But we know from history that it never is.

What I'm worried about is people being struck by this particular historical moment and thinking this is it. Well, it isn't. This is not it. Society

continues to evolve. But it's very dependent on how we react to it. How we respond in regard to these horrible practices and policies that have been

shaped. And if we accept it, yes, society will evolve in a particular way. But if we say, no. If we look for ways to make sure that students are

educated fully, then this will never come to pass. So, that's what I believe and I -- what -- and what I'm advocating that people do is get


AMANPOUR: Get busy politically or finding alternative roots around --

SIMMONS: In every conceivable way. In the days of deep segregation, you know, remember the governor standing at the school house door and blocking

entry of little children, adorable children. Yes, I mean that's been our history in the past. But it wasn't enough to stop progress because there

were people like civil rights activists who came along and said, we're going to protest.

There are people who went to the polls and voted and insisted this was not to be the policy of the land. And then there were universities and

institutions that said, OK, we're going to find ways to be -- to offer appropriate education for our students.

Universities have to stand tall in this moment. They have got to be strong in their views of how to make our campuses exemplars of how to live in a

very diverse society. But I don't like the discouraging talk that our students are hearing about how dreadful it is, and how evil people are, and

how we're really up against the worst time in our history, and things are going to be bad.

What does that do for a young person? And I go back to the fact that my teachers -- I had no vision for the future. I didn't believe in that,

right? But my teachers had that vision for me. They said things can be better, and here's why they can be better. And you can be part of making it

better. And just that hopefulness led me to want a life in education where I could do that for other students.

AMANPOUR: So, there's also, you know, a big sort of controversy about legacy admissions. How did they affect educational opportunities should

they continue?

SIMMONS: What people have, perhaps, lost sight of is that our educational system grew up differently from almost any in the rest of the world. And

that is to say our universities are not uniformly supported by the state. They raise money. They raise money from loyal alumni who are interested in

getting their children into college, right?

And so, if you have a private system like that, you're going to have the kinds of relationships and the kinds of practices that try to keep the

doors open by fundraising. And that's where -- that's why legacy admission has become so strong. Has it been corrupted? I think it has. We've seen

evidence of that, and it shouldn't be.

So, will admission change? It's going to change for sure. And we're going to have to reflect deeply on the kinds of thumbs on the scale that we use

for various categories of individuals. Whether its athletes, whether artists, whether it's other -- whether it's others. But should you, by

birthright, have -- be entitled to get into an institution? I don't think so. I don't think so at all.


But I think you have to realize that alumni who had the capacity to help institutions won't necessarily be as generous if they cannot look to a time

when their children will be eligible to be admitted, that's a factor.

AMANPOUR: And does that lead, in your mind, to this crisis of, you know, so many less people going from high school to university, a precipitous

decline in people, you know, applying for universities, because of huge fees into earlier?

SIMMONS: We do need to do something about the cost of education. And that is probably the number one factor. A lot of them will probably fail in the

coming years because they can't, the tuition is too high. The students are not able to pay. And there won't be room for them.

But again, here's what I advise students who seek my -- they don't always like what I say, who seek my opinion when they're applying for college. I

tell them you can go anywhere. Start at a community college if you want to. That's very, very cost effective. OK? Start at a community college. And I

also say to the -- my Ivy League friends, shame on you if you are not accepting students from community colleges who wish to transfer into your

university, OK.

We are too segmented as a sector, it seems to me. We're too elitist as a sector. And that's why today, I'm advising Harvard's president on a

relationship with HBCU's, because it's way past time for people to talk about education itself. Not about the haves and have nots, but about what

we can do for this country and what we can do for young people who are aspiring. Think of what we can do by working together.

AMANPOUR: President Ruth Simmons, thank you very much indeed.

SIMMONS: Thank you. Thank you.


AMANPOUR: The prospect of college is just one of the many challenges facing teenagers today. Social media has changed the way kids interact and behave.

Addicted to an online smart phone world. Even those who are not on the platforms are affected. "New York Times" Contributing Editor Jessica

Bennett, followed three 13-year-olds for a year. Witnessing the impact of social media on these girls' lives. Along with Mitch Prinstein, Chief

Science Officer of the American Psychological Association, they join Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the trials and tribulations of being 13 today.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Jessica Bennett, Mitch Prinstein, thank you both for joining us.

Jessica, let me start with you. This is a fascinating read. You were able to follow three different 13-year-olds and all of their phone activities

for a year.

ADDI: Hi. I'm Addi. I'm 13 years old, and I live in Norton Shores, Michigan.

ANNA: I'm Anna. I'm finishing up middle school near Denver, Colorado.

LONDON: Hi, my name is London. I'm an eighth graders in Maryland.

JESSICA BENNETT, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES AND AUTHOR, "THIS IS 18": I spent the last year following three 13-year-old girls throughout

the course of their eighth-grade year to try to understand what life is like to be a teenager today.

SREENIVASAN: Why did you set out to do this in the first place?

BENNETT: Yes. Well, so I'm talking like a teenager these days because I've spent so much time with these girls. You know, for some time, I've covered

the lives of women and girls. And I've always been pretty interested in the static that shows that around the middle school age, girls' self-esteem

tends to drop, and it tends to drop much more significantly than their male peers.

So, this was in the back of my mind as all of these headlines and statistics started coming about girls and teens in general and social

media. You know, we were all behind our screens during the pandemic, and suddenly it became very concerning, teen mental health. And we know that 13

is the age at which teenagers are allowed to join social media, according to all these social media companies.

So, we thought wouldn't it be interesting to try to capture the intersection of this really precarious time in adolescent life and

particularly for adolescent girls, and when they are allowed to join these platforms, and what would it look like.

SREENIVASAN: You know, I want to say to the audience, you have the permission from the parents to follow these young women. So, tell me a

little bit about the three very different girls that you chose.

BENNETT: Yes. So, it was interesting because this was almost like a dual reporting project because everything that was happening, you were also

talking to the parents about. So, they were very involved. So, we had three girls, London who's in Maryland, Anna who's in Colorado, Addi who's in

Michigan. Really different, you know, geographically different. Ethnically different. Come from really different families. But the thing they had in

common was being this age, in eighth grade, in middle school when hormones are raging. Oftentimes, friendship heights get complicated.


You know, they're coming into the sexuality. They're searching for identity. And they're doing it all with a screen in her hand at all times.

And so, their parents had really different rules for them about how much access to phones or social media they could have. But one of the most

interesting things was to see that even the girl who wasn't allowed on social media, Anna, it was impossible to escape because everyone at school

was on it. So, it's not as simple as just taking away your kid's phone.

SREENIVASAN: Dr. Prinstein, you are the chief science officer of the American Psychological Association, and the organization has issued

multiple health advisories. Warnings to different parents about how and when they should be allowing their kids on social media, some of the, sort

of, pitfalls of it. When you saw -- and you've contributed to "The Times'" reporting in this, when you saw Jessica's piece, what did you think.

MITCH PRINSTEIN, CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICER, AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION: I thought it was fantastic, not just because I have a daughter who's also

13 but -- and in eighth grade. But because it's really breathing life into what the science tells us, you know, time and time again. 13 is maybe the

worst time in our lives that we would have our kids spending so much focus on screens. Actually, I should say the second worst time.

The first most important time for brain development is that first year of life, but coming right after that is that year or two as puberty is

beginning. We're starting to see changes in the body. But that means that changes are already started in the brain. And the changes that are

occurring in the brain are making us, oh, craving that peer attention, rolling our eyes at our parents, and talking about peers and how much they

reenforce us or being scared of getting punished by them.

So, to give them 24/7 access to nonstop, you know, reinforcement through clicking their mouse and searching online, not only is it potentially

something that might preoccupy them a lot more than we want. But we're now starting to learn it actually might change the way their brain grows over

the next few years.

SREENIVASAN: So, tell me a little bit about that. What's scientifically happening in the brain and why is that susceptible during that -- this

vulnerable period to, you know, what's happening in the body and so forth? But what is social media doing to the processes that are changing inside

our heads?

PRINSTEIN: Yes, so the brain doesn't mature all at once. It matures region by region. And one of the first regions that changes is an area called the

anterior cingulate cortex, which basically is an area filled with oxytocin and dopamine receptors that suddenly multiply. So, we have way, way more of

them. That means that we're craving bonding with other peers and it feels really, really good when we do.

Now, this region is also associated with our addiction to illegal substances, that's where the dopamine kind of kicks in. But now, we're

seeing that social media is activating it in ways that just don't parallel the way that kids used to grow up.

So, back when I was growing up, you hung out with your friends then you went home. Maybe you get a phone call with them. Maybe you get some

opportunity, you know, playing in the neighborhood but not 24/7 worldwide quantified access controlled by artificial intelligence. That has changed

the context in which these brains were not developed to interact with and that's concerning.

SREENIVASAN: So, Jessica, what's interesting there is, you know, from what the doctor says, if the dopamine receptors are multiplying, if the kids are

getting such a benefit or a positive boost from those connections with friends, in your reporting, you're also showing that the inverse is also

true. It seems that they are taking it much harder during this time, you know, in their lives when there might be an off-line rift in a relationship

how it's playing out online is almost magnified. Explain what happened with one of the teens, kind of, going or maybe all of them going through

different kind of relationship issues.

BENNETT: So, a few of the things that played out, you know. There would be a disagreement over something. It would move into a group text. People

would start calling each other names. It would then move into Snapchat where disappearing messages would be sent. But not everyone in the group

would have Snapchat so they wouldn't know what the person was saying about them.

It would then eventually blow-up, end up in the school counselor's office, and the school counselor is sitting there saying, this is all I do now. And

sometimes it's so hard to even get to the bottom of these conflicts because the adults in the room, the administrators, the principals, the teachers,

they're not as technological savvy. So, that's part of this too. You know, watching these girls, and to their credit, they're very brave to share

their stories.

SREENIVASAN: Dr. Prinstein, you know, there are so many different kind of pieces of research that get headlines today and are warnings about social

media, the correlations between social media use and self-esteem, social media use and suicide.


"The Economist", for example, ran some recent studies about that, and it looked like suicide numbers had, kind of, decreased from most groups except

for, essentially, I think girls aged between 10 and 19. Now, again, correlation is not causation, and I understand that and I want viewers to

know that. But -- well, looking at the body of research that's out there, what can we start to be definitive about saying?

PRINSTEIN: You're right. I mean, there's a lot of research coming out. And you know, some of it is not causal, of course, because we can't

experimentally manipulate some kids to use social media more than others and see how they turn out. That would be unethical. But we're getting what

I call warning signs, enough accumulating evidence to suggest there are some things, at the very least, we need to monitor, talk with our kids

about, and pay attention to.

We're seeing that kids are reporting -- and just as we were just hearing in the report, remarkable amount of stress because of all the platforms they

have to keep up with. What they're afraid they'll miss out on, and how much overload it is to gather all this information at once. The more the kids

are reporting what we call digital stress, the more they're experiencing depression a year later.

We're seeing effects on sleep and we're seeing the direct effect between social media use disrupted or delayed sleep, and that is actually changing

the size of how brains are growing over time. That's a pretty clear example of how social media is having this direct effect on the brain. We're seeing

addictive kinds of behaviors. What we, in the science community call, problematic social media use. With kids having tolerance and withdrawal

symptoms that interferes with their ability to engage in day-to-day activities. We're seeing discrimination and cyber hate and just being

exposed to that, whether it's directed to you or not as psychological consequence.

There's a lot more. I should say there's also positive effects of social media on kids' development. But it's not a one-size fits all kinds of

situation. Every kid uses social media in different ways and there are different things we need to do to make them all get the best out of it and

avoid the worst.

SREENIVASAN: So, Jessica as you point out, banning social media, banning phone use, well, it has kind of different unintended ripple effects that,

you know, maybe a parent wouldn't consider right off bat.

BENNETT: It's not just cyber bullying or it's not these really overt and exaggerated things that are occurring. This is like the daily anxiety that

exist in the background of knowing that there are 17 messages getting unanswered on your phone. There is a notification from your school to let

you know that the quiz that you took today has dropped your grade by two percent. There are news notifications.

You know, one of the girls that I was with, there was a school lockdown when I was with her. And, you know, that's a sad reality of our teenagers

and kids today. But how did everyone find out that that was occurring? It was a notification on the phone.

So, even in some cases, what the school administrators are saying is, you know, we really want to set strict rules about not having phones in class.

But oftentimes it's actually the parents who want to keep track of their kids. And in a straight (ph) situation like that where there's a lockdown

and the parents are finding out about it in that way, you can completely understand why they want to have access to speaking to their daughter by

the phone.

So, it's tricky and seems that it's not quite as simple when we live in world in which social media and phones and really are all kind of blended

into one to just take one device away and think the problem is solved.

SREENIVASAN: So, Jessica, are the parents that you were speaking around these girls, did you see -- I don't know, that kind of trial and error on

what kind of policy worked for which girl?

BENNETT: Well, I think they're trying to figure it out as they go. And I guess what I saw via the most effective was these parents having pretty

open and honest conversations with their kids about what they were seeing. Asking really simple questions like, OK, well, how did that make you feel

when you saw that? And if it didn't make you feel good, could you identify what it was about what you just saw that made you not feel good?

And I think just like Dr. Prinstein said, mindfulness and understanding your feelings because we all do this, like, we're swiping along, we're

swiping away, we're going down rabbit holes. Three hours later you find yourself in a TikTok rabbit hole and you feel terrible about yourself and

the world. And we, as far as adults, who can distinguish between reality and misinformation, and sometimes these teens can't.

SREENIVASAN: Is there a difference in how a teen girl brain versus a teen boy brain is influenced by what's on these devices and social media?

PRINSTEIN: In some ways, no, not that we can see so far. So, the effects on brain, the effects on sleep on so many different aspects of development

that we've been talking about, we are not finding differences between boys and girls.


However, we are finding that girls live in a world where already there are unfair, double standard expectations on things like body shape or physical

appearance. There's an unfair, kind of, pressure to succeed in social relationships. And it's the interaction between social media which is

magnifying what might already have been happening and has been happening for decades to women. All line (ph) that might create a particularly toxic

combination of experiences for adolescent girls.

So, I would say that if you have a son, I would be just as concerned. But if you have a daughter, you probably want to recognize the unique ways that

social media is really poking at some issues that are already presented and pretty unfair ways to girls and women.

SREENIVASAN: So, Jessica, one of the things that was interesting was how social media wasn't really contained inside the phone. I mean, one of the

girls, London -- you know, her mom, what was it, she basically allowed her to watch TikTok so that she could learn some of these, kind of, viral


BENNETT: Yes. So, London was not allowed to be on TikTok until her 13th birthday and she had to present a very carefully thought-out case to her

mother about why she should be allowed, and they each signed a contract agreeing to specific rules. But once she was allowed on it, she could

stream it into the living room through their TV. And I -- so I came over to their house and they were dancing in front of the television set and I was

like, wait, what is this? Oh, it's TikTok. You can actually connect it there.

So, there's that. You know, there are all sorts of ways around having these apps. You can have apps that disguise apps underneath them. You can access

TikTok through YouTube from a desk top, from your school computer, like, there are all sorts of ways around. So, I kind of feel like the idea of

just not permitting kids without having the conversations about it on these platforms is futile. We just aren't as good at the internet as they are.

SREENIVASAN: Jessica, you chronicled several, kind of, darker moments as I was reading. But -- and I saw a couple of positive ones as well, and the

doctor talked about it. I mean, what kinds of positive benefits did you see in the lives of these girls that social media was, kind of, actively

functioning on that we shouldn't discount?

BENNETT: Yes, I mean, I think there's almost two things, there's social media and then there's the phones --


BENNETT: -- which they're using to socialize and always. And there are plenty of benefits to this. You know, there were lots of moments of joy.

Sharing silly photos. Sharing memes. Like, the way that they communicate in visual platforms is just very different from the way I grew up


Even on social media, you know, for marginalized communities in particular, oftentimes LGBTQ, you -- they can find community in like-minded people

there. So, there are real benefits to some of this. And I think that can often get lost in some of the headlines. There were real moments of joy and

there were silly moments. And they're still teenagers, they're figuring it all out, you know.

I think that the girls were really brave and honest in letting us document even some of the messier, more, as they would say, cringey parts of being a

teenage on social media. And they really hope, and I hope, that it can allow others to see something of themselves and maybe take a harder look at


SREENIVASAN: I'm sure, Doctor, that you get asked this by every other parent of a 13-year-old that your teenagers might be on school teams or

clubs or anything else with. But if you had any, kind of, overarching piece of advice that you think could work universally about both phones and

social media, what do you say to parents?

PRINSTEIN: Moderation. You know, I don't think it's an all or nothing, kind of, solution. Let your kids on for an amount of time that fits the way they

use it and their reactions of their having on it. That's not one amount of time for everyone. That's might be a half hour for some kids, and that

might be two hours for others.

I think it's important to talk with your kids about what they're experiencing on there, absolutely. I'd love for kids to get eight to nine

hours of sleep, which is recommended by many different scientific groups. So, you know, there's some tricky ways, I understand, that parents don't

feel empowered to be able to shut off their kids' phone on time. And I would say, dig into those parental controls. They're not as easy as they

should be, perhaps, to navigate but dig into them. Parents have a lot more power and gatekeeping ability than a they believe.

I'll say one last thing. We have done all kinds of class courses with undergraduates on this, and what we hear from 19 and 20-year-olds

consistently is, I wish my parents had not listened to my begging and pleading when I was 12.


Because now all these years later, I am seeing what happens and how dependent and incapable of paying attention and sleeping and exercising or

having an in-person conversation. I wish my parents were more comfortable being the bad guy or the bad parent back then, and didn't acquiesce to my

begging and pleading.

SREENIVASAN: All right. From the American Psychological Association, Dr. Mitch Prinstein, and from "The New York Times" Jessica Bennett, thank you

both for joining us.

BENNETT: Thanks for having us.

PRINSTEIN: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: That is it for now. Remember you can always catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media. Thank you for watching, and goodbye

from London.