Plus: what to do about porn. Meet the two runners-up in our high school essay contest.
“American teenagers aren’t having a good time. They aren’t having sex. They aren’t driving. They are depressed, anxious, and lonely.”
I’m curious how many of these kids are taking anti-whatever meds, are not involved in sports or some other social physical activity and have little to no involvement in do-good organizations or spiritual based faith of some kind.
We have a new generation of young people who are addicted to their screens, addicted to immediate consumption, addicted to leisure & privilege. They are told that math can be racist, biology is fluid, ideas they don't agree with are violence, a persons skin color matters more than a their character, and so on. I can't imagine why these young people are struggling......
I haven’t gotten past this sentence yet:
“American teenagers aren’t having a good time. They aren’t having sex.”
There was a time when the majority of teens weren’t having sex, yet still seemed to be having a pretty good time.
What did the two stories have in common? An addiction to screen based devices. The sooner we realize that these "Personal Entertainment Devices" are literally sucking up our life force, the sooner we heal as a society.
PS: Don't know if the audience is familiar with the books Brave New World and 1984, but I did an analysis on these books. In Part 2 of the analysis, in Huxley's world, two things are needed for the control of the population: 1) sea of irrelevance of information and 2) easy access to sex.
Interesting that that's also what these two articles are about:
It's not just teens.
I'm 74, recognize the same behavioral disruptions in adults older and younger. The electronic devices we've become so enamored of and the interconnectedness they, by way of the 'net, have trapped most of us in have made pretty much everyone alive today the victims of a vast and unfeeling Media Establishment.
As a father of three grown, successful children and six grandchildren ranging from 2-12 years, I cannot look around me and view the world with anything but alarm. My wife and I grew up in a world of unsupervised, unstructured play after school and on weekends. Television time was almost non-existent on weenights and on weekends limited to a few selected shows such as Science Fiction Theater and The Dungeon with M.T. Graves. I had a friend who would wake up on Saturday, turn on the television before the first programming began, and watch non-stop until it ended late that night. I wonder what became of him? If I wanted to see a movie, I paid for a ticket at the theater. My children grew up with video, with VHS seguing to DVDs. The could watch their favorite movies repeatedly (I cannot count how many times they watched The Never-Ending Story). I was fortunate in that my wife did not have to work and chose to be a stay-at-home mother. Not every woman can. Although there were many children in our young neighborhood, all the other mothers worked and their children went straight to after school care until dinner time. My children were essentially alone until the weekend. I have often questioned why so many women seek careers. Do they truly want this or do they feel they need to do this for fulfillment that raising children does not provide? Is it financially necessary for most or is this a rationalization for the need to provide for all the perks of modern, middle-class life: a second car, paid subscriptions for internet, cell phones, and cable, a nicer house, private education, annual vacations, etc.? I had none of these. All of my children work and they are great parents, but I see my grandchildren spending most of the day away from both parents starting in pre-kindergarten. I am not judging this; I am just pointing out the dramatic changes in family life since I was a boy. The internet was new when my kids were still young. Despite our vigilance, my son was exposed to porn early, including images of bondage. Thankfully, he came out unscathed. Many do not. I hear of young men who have no interest in real relationships, choosing online porn over that. Many already deal with ED. This is both terrifying and terribly sad. What most strikes me today as I look around everywhere I go is the ubiquitours nature of cell phones. From the poorest to the richest, everyone has one. If you look around in any crowd of people fully more than half will be looking at a screen at any given moment and ear buds are everywhere, as though growing organically from their ears. Many will be near deaf at a young age from barotrauma of playing music too loud into their delicate neural pathways. We know of the deliberate addictive nature of TikTok. All of this is not news. The question is: what are parents going to do about this. Our children are our responsibility and too important to leave to politicians and tech moguls. Excellent essays both. It is such as these that give me cause for hope for the next generation.
Both essays show the risks of unfettered internet access for kids. Some parents have no idea what their children are doing online, which is a major issue especially when the internet has played a major role in spreading social contagion. It’s good for teens to just unplug and go outside.
My church has a summer program for our teens. They go to some run down community and fix up homes and stock food bank shelves. They do yard work. Then they share with us how their view of life has been changed.
These two essays represent privileged kids from privileged backgrounds. Midland school costs $74K per year. Helicopter parenting is a symptom of upper income families. Again, FP needs to reach out to non-traditional writers from UN-privileged backgrounds and get a different perspective. Kudos to these two young people, but I'm unimpressed. I want to hear from kids from rural Iowa or West Virginia. I want to hear from kids who haven't had a childhood with first world problems. America is full of these stories, yet we never hear them.
Bravo to young adults writing, and to TFP shining light on them!
American teenagers aren’t having a good time. They aren’t having sex. They aren’t driving. They are depressed, anxious, and lonely.”
In the early 1960s in small town Tennessee, the only part of this statement that would be true is “they aren’t having sex.” Of course the desire was there, and there was kissing, petting and making out. But religious upbringing, parenteral teaching, and the potential for shame were always in the subconscious. By the end of the 1960s this was replaced by the continuous “summer of love,” sexual freedom with no responsibility or consequences and the concept of abortion as a right.
My memories of that heady time “I Remember Sixty Five” YouTube music video by yours truly. https://youtu.be/8yZ1EGwnZx4?si=9aaUBGkbBFUvIbgt
Great idea (HS essay contest) - perhaps we should be getting a window into our youths’ minds more regularly! Thanks for sharing more than just the winner.
Excuse me. But since when is it required that teenagers have sex?
Story from The Flyover---➤ Texas passed a law earlier this summer that will require a picture of one’s government-issued ID to gain access to online pornography websites. The law is part of a broader plan to bar minors from certain internet channels in order to protect them from the harmful effects of social media.
Harrumph. To whom was this essay contest pitched? I find it curious that both essays are Californian; at least one of them an apparently heavily "privileged" source. At risk of being canceled: One essay frankly sophomoric (loved the message, though); the other heavily researched and (what I hope still is) college grade. Admittedly 400 isn't that big a sample size or perhaps I don't grok the judgment criteria; it seems an uneven result.
“Whether social media is the cause or the catalyst is a subject of ongoing and intense debate.“
There is no debate…it’s undoubtedly the cause, and it even does damage to adults.
I guess I have to be "That Guy" and ask if there is anything to the fact that both teens are from California? Did you have a lot of Cali teens submit? Did they happen to simply be the best options? Is the teen crisis heavier in a place like Cali? Just curious if anyone thought about it.