This post is written by a 17 year old from England at https://mylittlelibellule.wordpress.com/
What it’s like to be a teenager these days…
Honestly, it’s pretty great! Although there are little things that are tough like getting a job that fits college hours or trying to keep up to expectations (the dreaded predicted grades!). I feel now there is a lot more respect for teenagers and their opinions are valued more than maybe they were 20 years ago, this especially due to social media giving us the ability to portray our emotions and people encouraging others to speak out about issues such as bullying.
But, social media has it’s down sides, major downsides! I sometimes feel there is no escape from it, leaving your phone at home can feel like you’ve left a piece of you behind and there’s a constant worry of missing out on something. Being connected to so many ‘friends’ can make you feel more alone than ever… There is a need to make your life look perfect and fun because that’s what everyone else’s instagrams look like. To take pictures in big groups to prove you have friends or have that perfect selfie that doesn’t really show who you are. I can say this because I have been a victim. A victim of my own thoughts making me not seem good enough compared to what I see online, whereas in reality I am perfectly normal and everyday life isn’t seen through a filter. People never post about their average day at college or their parent trying desperately to teach them how to cook (and failing in my case!). We have an idea of what life should be like that in reality does not exist.
There are many opportunities for young people now and for that I am really grateful. We are not expected to do certain jobs, we are given choice and can change our mind, one of the best gifts we can be given. The stereotype of teenagers are that we are lazy and commit crime, the one part of being a teenager I hate! I can walk into a shop and not have the same level of service because of my age and so along with being a ‘teenager’ I get a lack of respect. But that is the reaction from only some, others listen and love the new ideas we bring. The youth learn from their elders but the elders can learn just as much from us teenagers! We come with different experiences, sometimes our minds are more open and can see things from a different view point.
Being a teenager today is tough, you’re expected to deal with all that life throws at you in a mature way yet some situations you are not treated as adults. Maybe it has always been like that and in a few years I will look back and see my teenage years as my best but with exams being made into such a big deal the stress is always being built up, if not with real exams there are mocks and if not mocks there is coursework to be done. I love learning and want to do well but sometimes I feel there is too much learning what an examiner wants to read rather than investigating what we are interested in. But we all have to do it, education is a major part of a teenagers life, whether we love it or hate it.
Childhood is often cut short, desperation to grow up and be one of the cool older teens has left the carefree child, once playing in the mud and running round naked, now watching makeup tutorials and plastering their face with cosmetics to seem older, more mature. The concept of the ‘perfect body’ changes every week making both girls and boys constantly doubt themselves, change the way they dress or eat, often leading to illnesses such as anorexia. But these issues have always been there and I am grateful that there are people encouraging others to speak out and admit to their illness and ask for help. Maybe that is what I believe is the greatest change for teenagers now compared to 20 years ago. We are more able to speak out and get help, less afraid as we can find others who are in the same position. The internet has good and bad sides and I believe controls my generation.