Anyone younger than that almost certainly grew up with an iPhone in their hand. This made information easier to exchange than ever and exposed many people in positions of power—to them, grown-ups who are supposed to be looking out for them—to be corrupt or inept.
As a result, teenagers in 2022 are more socially conscious than ever. Teenagers have always been known for their fiery opinions, but now for every three teenagers that is speaking on impulse or to be inflammatory, there is at least one that knows what they are talking about.
Today we are going to look at some of the social issues that teenagers are facing in 2022.
One of the most interesting social issues that teenagers deal with every day is the very medium by which they become aware of social issues: Social media. There are numerous problems with social media. It is addictive. It is designed to upset you in order to engage you. It is easy to get.
A teenager can find themselves ostracized for showing interest in and support for things on social media. They can just as well be ostracized for not showing interest and support for things. And at times, they are ostracized for just not reacting fast enough.
This creates a world where young people feel that what happens on social media is the end of the world. And indeed, bonds that seemed unbreakable can be broken due to social media. They are all cogs in a machine that does not care for their individuality as people.
Due to social media’s reduction of their personhoods into clicks, likes, and retweets, certain forms of expression have taken on heightened importance among teenagers. Social media reduces 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.
Many scientists agree that this should not be a social issue, but purely a scientific one. But politicians seem to be determined to make it social. Tornadoes are more common. Spring and fall have almost completely gone away most places, leading to six-month summers and winters.
The seas are warming and rising, and people look teens in the eyes and tell them it’s natural.
Currently, the leading cause of death of teens in the United States is gun violence. School shootings technically happen about once a week in this country, and deaths by gun are more common than cancer recovery or job placement.
So, it is no wonder that most teenagers have pretty direct opinions about guns. They are more at risk of dying by them than the police or members of the military in combat zones.
The best part of all of this is that they all know it. Their caretakers all know it. Their caretakers know that the teenagers know it. And still, absolutely nothing is done to protect them from it.
“People die by guns. But people die by cars in much higher numbers. Should we ban cars too?”
Many teenagers will tell you yes, cars are worse than public transportation by every measure. Teenagers do not die to cars as much as they die to guns, but they die to them enough that they know it is a problem. Alongside this is growing urban sprawl, which presents a few problems.
Cars are not only dangerous, but expensive. The widening of cities is not great for the environment, but it is worse for the people who live in the cities and increasingly need dangerous, expensive cars in order to navigate them efficiently.
Oddly enough, teenagers have actually slowed their consumption of illicit substances in recent years. Part of that is due to the legalization of marijuana in many areas. But it is also the result of more information being spread about these substances, and awareness of how bad they are.
Still, you will rarely find a high school somewhere in the United States that does not have at least a few kids who involve themselves with cocaine, heroin, or meth. These can be hard drugs to get over, so if you know a teenager who is struggling, you can try Ascendent NY to help.
Depression and Suicide
Long has humanity been hounded by depression and suicide. This generation of teenagers is no different, but the discourse around it has changed. People used to casually dismiss these things as the sign of weakness. But copious evidence has proven that viewpoint wrong.
Yet at the same time, a culture has developed around social media that regards holding onto scientifically disproven beliefs as somehow virtuous. This means there are people who believe that depression and suicide in teenagers is 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.
It is incredible that anyone survives being a teenager, especially in this day and age. We won’t kid ourselves—we know that it is hard to have sympathy for teenagers. They are not perfect angels in all this. It can be hard to feel for someone who is so powerless as a teenager.
But the correct response to that situation is to be more sympathetic, not less. Remember how much it would have helped you to have an adult who listens, and extend that to them.