The Roar

Comparing teen stress to past generations


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Teen stress has hit a maximum for Generation Z, with 37 percent admitting to seeing a psychologist or other mental-health professionals, according to a 2018 American Psychology Association article.

Older generations have continued to criticize both Millennials and Gen Zers, and frankly we have yet to see any justifiable reasoning behind such condemnation. People have claimed that social media presents benefits that outweigh its hindrances.

Sure, social media allows us to interact with our friends on a frequent basis and spread new ideas in a mass manner. However, up until recently, the stress inflicted upon users, especially younger generations that have used social media almost religiously, has gone unnoticed.

Today’s world puts on a front when it comes to posting on sites like Instagram and Twitter. Everyone is obsessed with others’ perspectives toward them in such a way that encourages people to depict themselves in a falsely-positive light.

Users tend to attempt to show the world that they live unusually happy lifestyles, whether it be through sufficient amounts of money and valuable items or through various enjoyable experiences with family and friends. In reality, we all go through our own difficult experiences that cause anxiety and distress, but these are the things that shape our personal values and define who we are.

Social platforms allow users to compare themselves to one another, always looking to impress their peers. When individuals aim to inflate their own attributes, they tend to put others down in the process. So, when people look to degrade others on social media, they need to remember that we’re all similar when it comes to facing life’s adversities. Cyber bullying is one of the main reasons people attempt to portray themselves in a false light on social media, in order to keep others from having a reason to make fun of them.

Twenty years ago, people didn’t attempt to live a lavish lifestyle on social media in order to keep up with the crowd and stay cool, and cyber bullying was not an issue. Additionally, in the past, cameras did not cover nearly every inch of space in the world. If someone today does anything embarrassing, it is almost certain that a video is saved on a phone somewhere nearby.

So not only are kids stressed about how they’re viewed by others on social media, but they also have to think twice before partaking in any activity that would either get them in trouble or lead to backlash from peers. This is especially relevant because major companies and colleges have shifted their focus toward kids’ social media accounts and online presence. Any content they deem unprofessional can prevent an individuals from pursuing their dreams and obtaining a substantial living in the future. This is drastically different from the lifestyles that older generations lived. Taking all of this into account, the next time someone says “Well my generation…” followed by a comparison to today’s youth, they probably fail to realize the extent of the differences between now and then, and have no business criticizing us.

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The School Newspaper of West Shore Junior/Senior High School
Comparing teen stress to past generations