It’s a Friday night, you’re sitting in your bedroom mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, and the days of the week just blend altogether. If you go to that party, you’re at risk of spreading the virus and giving it to your parents. If you don’t, it’s just another night at home, alone.
Beginning in March 2020, a normal week for students involved online school all day, homework until dinner, and most likely more screen time after. Almost all teens were interacting with their friends strictly through social media. How you look on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok became the determining factor of you and your personality. The current generation of teenagers is like no other.
We are a lost generation.
Teens are supposed to meet friends, become social, try new things, and learn. With the pandemic, this does not happen, hence limiting teen development. The New York Times writes, “The most powerful forces driving development for middle and high schoolers are increased independence over time, along with being with one’s peers… and the virus curtails both of those things.”
Lack of socializing is proven to lead to depression and anxiety. According to The New York Times, “A few months into the pandemic, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention warned that anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide were on the rise.”
According to a CDC study on mental health, “Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.”
The fact is that teens are locked up in their bedrooms, on their phones, on their computers, and not socializing. They are not allowed to interact with society.
The first step in solving this crisis would be to wear a mask and limit the spread of the virus to ensure a quick return to normal, but that will not happen for some time. Parents, teachers, friends, and family should all check in with each other and understand if a loved one is not doing well. With an increase in access to therapy or counseling, there will be a place for teens to figure their problems out.
There may be no parties or social gatherings for a few more months, but if we all wear a mask and check in on each other, this tough time will make everyone stronger.