Most teenagers have expressed that being at their teenage in 2022 is mostly always feeling depressed and always tired.
If you have any teenager who lives within your proximity, then they will tell you how they are at risk of things depression, anxiety, rape, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, and more.
As an adult, especially Kenyan parents, you have the tendency to dismiss them saying that you know what it’s like and it happened to you too. To add more insult, they will soon get over it, and it's just a phase.
But really, you have no idea because you are a completely different person. You may have gone through the same thing but you had a different situation, time, age, different ways of coping, and very different social interactions, and social demands.
Not long ago, if you learned that someone died because of suicide, you used to casually dismiss these things as signs of weakness. But evidence has proven that viewpoint wrong.
Yet at the same time, there are people who believe that depression and suicide in teenagers are not only a sign of weakness but that acting on this belief and letting it be known as frequently as possible is a sign of strength.
From the time when the internet was invented to the smartphone and the evolvement of new technologies, any teenager of 2022 is most likely to be exposed to this lifestyle.
As a result, these teenagers are more socially conscious than ever. Teenagers have always been known for their fiery opinions, but now for every three teenagers that are speaking on impulse or are inflammatory, there is at least one that knows what they are talking about.
Highlighted below are some of the social issues that teenagers are most likely struggling with:
Depression and Suicide
Social media (not screen time) may contribute to the rise in depression, especially amongst teenage children. Its speculated that this is due in part to teenage boys and girls comparing themselves and their lives to others on social media.
Another problem might be that teens are up late, addicted to social media, and are thus getting less sleep which is not good for mental health either.
Due to social media’s reduction of their personhoods into clicks, likes, and retweets, the platforms have reduced individuality, meaning that young people have to work extra hard to be themselves.
This might not be the huge topic it was if not for how heavily the rest of society pushes back on it. If a young person says that they do not feel like they can relate to what is commonly associated with their biological sex, you have grown men and women ready to yell at them for it.
People die by guns, and people die in cars in much higher numbers. Should cars be banned too?
Many teenagers, some of whom we know by name have died in road accidents and most times it’s because they are not skilled like they have been driving for a year or two maximum. On the other hand, they cannot afford modern cars with up-to-date safety equipment.
Also, let’s not forget teenagers tend to fall victim to peer pressure and the temptation to drive faster than their friends, especially with girls around.
Oddly enough, peer pressure, and issues at home, or with family can be a cause for teens turning to substance abuse. Not everyone, yet some can.
Just like adults, for a teenager to turn to substance abuse, there is always a reason, it could be from something or someone negative in their life that is making them feel bad enough about themselves. Therefore, they turn to substance abuse as a way of escaping from pain, that high helps to lift them above the pain.
In conclusion, you must stop treating teens as if they aren’t important and that their problems are worthless.
As a parent, you must learn that you cannot expect to be respected by those to whom you have never shown respect.