Wednesday, August 12, 2020
US flag

Survey points to what worries teens

A survey released yesterday by the Pew Research Center found that many teens see anxiety and depression as major issues among their peers, the New York Times reports.

Another major stressor is constant surveillance by peers on social media, and the “fear of missing out” it can generate, the paper quoted Philip Kendall, director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Temple University in Philadelphia, as saying. Again, he said, guidance about how to understand social media—for example, a person taking 50 photos to get one perfect image—can help to dispel anxiety.

The study also found that about 61 percent of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades. The final report, however, did not list concerns about being sexually assaulted as one of teens’ primary stressors, but that doesn’t mean high school students don’t think about it.

One senior at Antioch Community High School in Illinois wrote an Advanced Placement research paper on the subject of sexism in superhero films. She’s learned about how media impacts society’s views of rape and rape culture, wrote Shannon Price in Sequoit Media, the student newspaper at the school.

Ms Price quotes another student as saying that people tend to sweep accusations of rape and sexual assault under the rug in the “rape culture” in which we live, where blaming the victim often takes precedence over fixing the problem and bringing rapists to justice.

By denying that the event actually occurred or shifting the blame to the victim, society is allowing for potential rapists to justify their actions. Whether it comes from a digital media platform or a personal interaction, normalization and glorification of rape culture leads to an increased amount of violence.

Some insight into what else might scare teens comes from a “Dear Diary” series on 9News (NBC affiliate, Denver). The station asked a few teens to record their thoughts on video, and although results largely parallel the current study, the videos are compelling.

  • “Every time at a family gathering, it’s like, ‘Have you decided where you’re going to college yet? What are you going to major in in college? Where are you going to go?'”
  • “So the biggest fear I have in life, is honestly, the feeling of being left out, like by my friends.”

Although it’s possible that the increased reporting of teen anxiety is due in part to better screening procedures used in schools and among mental health professionals, about twice as many children and adolescents sought professional help for thoughts of suicide or self-harm in 2015 as in 2008. That is a cause for concern, whatever the contributing factors may have been.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.