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Chasing Childhood


How free play and independence have all but disappeared from kids’ lives? Supplanted by relentless perfectionism leading to record rates of anxiety and depression, the situation now compounded by the pandemic. Free play, unsupervised by adults, is critical for developing essential life skills: grit, independence, and resourcefulness. Many young adults may appear more accomplished on paper, but by the time they get to college they are emotionally struggling and lacking the tools needed to live independently.
The film explores how and why helicopter parenting became the norm in many communities across the United States. The film features experts and advocates in the area of free play including Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford Dean and author of How to Raise an Adult, and


  • into screens
    Thought-provoking and eye-opening, Chasing Childhood might just help the next generation of kids in the fight for their right to play.
  • Alliance of Women Film Journalists
    Any parent nervous about striking the right balance between encouraging creativity and ambition while also fostering independence will find plenty of food for thought in Chasing Childhood, a documentary that probes whether our high-achieving society is taxing our children’s emotional and mental health.
  • Local News Matters Bay Area
    Reflects how adults demand too much from children — creating a system where perfection is paramount and failure to live up to those expectations often is debilitating.
  • Treehugger
    Chasing Childhood offers a solution, supported by science and statistics; not only is it free and readily accessible, it’s also a whole lot more fun for both children and parents. It’s time to let the kids be kids.
  • Willamette Week
    Lends specifics and expertise to a largely anecdotal issue: From kindergarten through high school, many children simultaneously face overprotection and rigorous parental demands.
  • Reel News Daily
    Chasing Childhood is tailor-made for parents, educators, and policymakers of every age.

Festival Participation

  • Cleveland International Film Festival - 2021
    Best Film Nominee
  • Sarasota Film Festival - 2021
    Best Documentary Feature Winner

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

ROCO Films Logo
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