If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that growing up isn’t easy. From academic pressure to social pressure, we ask a lot of children, and they don’t always get a lot in return. However, with social media, overscheduling, and the general stresses of growing up, today’s kids have a tougher time than their parents or grandparents’ generations ever did. Here’s why:
Social media leads to bullying: Whether you have straight hair or curly, are thin or fat, live in a massive Manhattan luxury condo or a small house in the suburbs, social media has made it easier than ever for kids to discover information about their peers and tease them for it. Unfortunately, this kind of bullying, and the many channels through which kids do it, can lead to depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and, in some cases, even suicide.
There’s more focus on celebrity culture: With social media stars often outshining traditional celebrities, there’s more pressure than ever for kids to perform. Social media celebrities make kids who can’t figure out how to get a million Instagram followers feel inadequate, and keep them constantly striving for something they’ll likely never have.
Social media leads to more conspicuous consumption: Along with the rise of social media stars has come an abundance of sponsored content and conspicuous consumption. Commercials are no longer the only way kids are seeing products: now they’re in their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds, too, and there’s ample social pressure to get all the products those influencers are hawking.
Kids are more overscheduled than ever before: 50 years ago, kids came home from school and played outdoors. Today, they’re lucky if their school even gives them a recess period. Kids are doing more extracurricular activities than ever before, and are under more pressure because of them. Even worse, kids hardly have time for friends outside of a school setting because they have so many other activities to attend to.
School is getting more and more demanding: Between a lack of funding for arts programs and the implementation of confusing teaching methodologies, like common core math, being a student is harder than ever. And the more difficult school is, the more difficult it is to find time for healthy social relationships. Worse yet, many kids who can’t properly express the stress their demanding academic career is causing may take it out on their peers in the form of bullying, or on themselves.
Being a kid has never been easy, but this generation of children undeniably has more on their plate than any who proceeded them. The good news? You can still help them deal with the pressures they’re facing. Whether you’re simply spending one-on-one time with them on the weekends or just taking time to talk after a day of work, connecting with your kids and having an open, honest dialogue with them can make all the difference in their lives today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.