Advances in technology mean today’s teens are facing issues that no previous generation has ever seen. While some issues are not exactly new, electronic media has changed or amplified some of the struggles young people face.
In fact, the average teen spends over nine hours each day using their electronic devices. Their social media habits and media consumption are changing the way young people communicate, learn, sleep, and exercise.
Here are a few things today’s teens struggle with:
An estimated 3.1 million adolescents in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. That means a whopping 20 percent of teenagers will experience depression before reaching adulthood.
Depression rates are growing among adolescents, especially in girls. Some researchers blame technology for the rise in mental health problems. Spending too much time on electronic devices may be preventing young people from engaging in sports or peer activities that help ward off depression.
Depressive disorders are treatable but it’s important to seek professional help. If your teen seems withdrawn, experiences a change in his or her sleep patterns, or starts to perform badly in school, schedule an appointment with your teen’s GP or contact a mental health professional.
2. Drug Use
In 2017, 6% of year twelves (twelfth graders) reported using cannabis daily. Cannabis use exceeds cigarette use is in teens now.
Surveys show teens believe cannabis is less harmful now than in years past. This may be due to the changing laws surrounding cannabis.
Fortunately, other illicit drug use has held steadily at the lowest levels in over two decades. The peak drug use for teens was in 1996.
Hold regular conversations about the dangers of drugs. And don’t forget to mention the dangers of prescription drugs. Many teens do not recognize the dangers of taking a friend’s prescription or popping a few pills that are not prescribed to them.
Unfortunately, many teens underestimate how easy it is to develop an addiction. And they don’t understand the risks associated with overdosing.
3. Alcohol Use
As of 2017, alcohol use and being drinking showed a significant decline among teenagers. Despite the decline, 33.2 percent of high school seniors still report drinking alcohol within the past month.
It’s important to hold regular conversations about the risks of underage drinking. Educate your teen about the dangers. Alcohol can take a serious toll on a teenager’s developing brain.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey, 20.6 percent of 12 to 19 year-olds are obese.
Obese children are at a much greater risk of lifelong health problems, such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
Surveys show parents are bad at recognising when their kids are overweight. They tend to underestimate their child’s size and the risks associated with being overweight.
Talk to your child’s GP about what weight and body mass are appropriate for your teen’s height and age and inquire about the steps you can take to ensure your teen remains healthy.
5. Academic Problems
Although the high school dropout rate is decreasing on a national level, 1.2 million students drop out of high school each year in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. A high school dropout is likely to earn $200,000 less over his or her lifetime when compared to a high school graduate.
It’s no longer just the “troubled teens” who are dropping out of school. Some teens feel so much pressure to get into a good university that they’re burning themselves out before they graduate from high school.
Stay involved in your teen’s education. Provide support and guidance and be ready to assist your teen if they encounter problems.
6. Peer Pressure
While peer pressure isn’t a new issue, social media brings it to a whole new level. Sexting, for example, is a major cause for concern as many teens do not understand the lifelong consequences that sharing explicit photos can have on their lives.
Give your teen skills to make healthy choices and to resist peer pressure. Talk to your teen about what to do if she makes a mistake. Sometimes, kids can make poor choices and maybe too afraid to seek help. Encourage your teen to talk you when he or she makes an error of judgment.
7. Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter can be great ways for teens to connect with one another. But, social media can be problematic for several reasons.
No matter what precautions you take, teens are still likely to be exposed to unsavory people, unhealthy images, and sexual content online. While there are measures being put into place to reduce the risks kids face online, it’s important for parents to get involved.
Know what your teen is doing online. Educate yourself about the latest apps, websites, and social media pages teens are using and take steps to keep your teen safe.
How to Talk to Your Teen
Bringing up any difficult subjects with your teen can feel uncomfortable. And your teen isn’t likely to respond well to a lengthy lecture or too many direct questions.
A good way to strike up a conversation about drugs, sex, or other uncomfortable situations is to ask a question like, “Do you think this is a big issue at your school?” Listen to what your teen has to say.
Make your expectations and opinions clear, however. Tell your teen that you don’t condone certain things and discuss the consequences of breaking rules.
The tips and tricks in this book not only work for Millennials but can be used to inspire others in your employ as well.