The teenage years are known for their emotional volatility, but it feels like it's getting worse. This month, several students have come into my office, and, as we discuss topics for their Common Application essay, tears begin to slowly roll down their faces. These students are not crying because of college application pressures, those are still to come, they are weeping because they eat lunch alone everyday, they aren't accomplishing what they hoped to academically, they have sacrificed too much to excel at a sport, their mom and sister fight a lot, they feel alienated from their friends, their parents, their world.
I do my best to prop them up, assure them that life will get better. We talk about their dreams and all the wonderful times ahead. But my heart aches for everyone of them, why is life so difficult for these students?
We have all read about the mental health crisis our teens are experiencing. The Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy issued a warning in February that social media is a main contributor to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, according to an NBC News report. We know about Congress' attempts to regulate social media, which have failed repeatedly. According to Senator Amy Klobuchar, the only way things are going to change with social media is when Americans decide they have had enough. Recently the American Psychological Association issued recommendations for guiding teen's use of social media. I wish it had had the courage to recommend that parents prohibit social media use completely. Then perhaps students could reconnect, leave their bedrooms, and participate in life fully and joyously.
Masland Educational Consulting