Teenagers face several social issues as they transition from childhood into adolescence and then eventually into young adulthood. Teens face increasingly rigorous school curricula, more challenging standardized testing and the never ending influence of the Internet. These challenges set the stage for a variety of social problems for teenagers, including issues associated with low self-esteem, peer pressure, Internet addiction and cyber bullying. However, parents can take a few simple steps to help their teens adjust during these challenging times.
Teen Social Issues
Self-esteem, peer pressure, Internet addiction, and cyber bullying are a few of the issues teens face today.
Teens constantly compare themselves to their peers. Teens who perform less successfully academically may feel less intelligent or less adequate as individuals. According to research conducted by Robert W. Reasoner from the National Association for Self-Esteem, the teen suicide rate doubled from 1968 to 2010. Helping teenagers identify areas of achievement and encouraging them to pursue those areas makes teens feel more accomplished resulting in higher self-esteem.
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Teenagers thrive on acceptance by their peers. The need for acceptance means teens sometimes make decisions based on peer influences instead of their own values because they fear isolation if they don't follow the crowd. Sometimes these decisions result in poor choices. Encouraging teenagers to choose friends with strong morals and similar value systems decreases the chances for negative peer pressure, resulting in better life decisions and better choices.
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The Internet provides teens with valuable resources for completing academic assignments, finding jobs and learning more about the world around them. It also provides them with multiple social media outlets where teens spend a lot of time. Teens who feel less comfortable expressing themselves face-to-face might feel pretty bold about expressing themselves on the Internet so the Internet becomes a comfortable place for them. Sometimes it becomes too comfortable and they become addicted to it. Internet addiction prevents teens from spending quality time with family and friends so they become less social with the people around them. Setting limits for Internet use prevents teens from spending too much time there and forces them to find other ways to socialize. Limited time on the Internet helps prevent Internet addiction.
Today's teens rarely disconnect from the Internet.
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Teen bullying expands to a whole new level with today's teens. Past generations left schools, playgrounds and parks for the safety of their homes. Today, with the constant influences of social media, teens find it more challenging to get away from bullying situations. Teens receive text and video messages on their phones and countless other electronic devices day and night. Teens rarely disconnect, leaving themselves constantly vulnerable to bullying. Parents and teachers find it easier to intervene in face-to-face bullying situations, but they are not always aware or in a position to intervene in cyber bullying situations.
Some cell phone providers offer parental controls which allow parents to shut down a teenager's phone during selective times without disconnecting their cell phone service. Limiting the use of electronics both at school and at home helps decrease instances of cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying is real and consequences can be permanent.
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