So, I am a teenager in the digital age. The technology alone is terrifying. Technology has a way to influence your perspectives and take control of your opinions. As my mom said, she would never try to be a teenager today. Sadly I had no choice in the matter, but I would agree that I also do not want to be a teenager at the moment.
1. What’s the hardest thing about being a teenager in 2018?
This one is not that hard because it has one of the most obvious answers: technology and lack of privacy. There is nothing that happens that the rest of the world doesn’t already know about. When I left Creek, I completely stopped posting on all social media accounts because I didn’t want to hear what other people had to say about my decision. This has changed not only the way I look at social media, but also how I look at the perspective in which I see other people’s lives through social media. There is hardly any truth behind each picture posted. What you don’t see is the fight that girl had with her mom over her outfit or the sunburn that came after posing for that many bikini selfies. It’s hard to look past what you see on social media and online, but if you focus on the facade people put up online, then you spend your life comparing yourself to someone that isn’t real.
2. If you could tell adults one insight to your generation, what would it be?
That my generation is very good at hiding things, even when a parent thinks they already know. Whether it be their relationship status or their emotional stability, adults can be easily fooled by what social media is telling them. So many people are convinced that a person’s Instagram is their real life. In reality, it is the life they want others to see. This can be especially hard when people are posting online about their personal struggles because you can never tell what is real and what is for attention. Often, the struggles teens face come from their need to project an image of themselves. You cannot understand anything about a teen by looking at their posts or reading their Facebook status.
3. What’s your relationship to your cell phone?
I actually have a really good and healthy relationship with my phone now, but it has been a really hard thing to learn. It’s so easy to get caught up in your view of other people on social media and that can kill all mental stability. I used to scroll through Instagram feeling left out from stuff and it would kill my self confidence. I keep my phone out of my room after my shower at night and I only get up to look at it once I am actually awake and ready to face the day. I have also purposefully left my phone behind at my house a lot because I know I will enjoy things more without the distraction. In the last few months, I have really struggled with personal phone boundaries, but it was something I had to learn in order to be successful.
4. Is there such thing a “normal” teenager?
I mean, I guess there is the image of the “normal” teen that movies paint a picture of, but there is not one teenager in high school that lives the teen life that everyone sees in a movie. High school is a hard and scary time even if you enjoy being a teenager and so many kids try to live up to what the TV shows them that they forget to have fun. It’s very easy to get caught up in expectations, especially as a teenager.
5. Why do so many parents and kids have such a hard time in these years?
There is such a gap between what parents see and what is actually happening. Parents are also so convinced that they understand what teens are going through but no generation before us has ever grown up with the technology we have. A fight over a boy is no longer just a school thing, people take their issues to social media and have to go home just to see what they were trying to escape. There is no separation between school, drama, news, and family life. That is something that makes it very difficult to feel confident in your decisions and daily actions. Without that confidence, teens turn to different coping mechanism that force distance between parents and their kids.