Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Troubled Teens

Being a teenager is difficult.  We've all been there.  You're not a child any more, but you're not quite an adult either.  Gradually you're taking on more responsibilities that you're not sure that you want.  You have trouble relating to a world where wonder and security has been replaced with strife and danger and you don't know how to navigate it, much less understand it.  You're constantly pushed to do the "in" thing.

In these days of rapacious media where the smallest detail can be beamed around the world in moments, young people are endangered more than ever before.  They can be lured by online "friends" who are not who they say they are.  They can be mercilessly bullied from behind the anonymity of a computer screen.  Careless or private moments are photographed and later used for physical and emotional blackmail.

An increasing number of young people are buckling under the pressure.  A couple whom I've known for 25 years lost their 14 year old son to suicide in January.  Another friend's 13 year old daughter has been cutting herself, to the point where she has ended up in the hospital three times in the past month.  Countless teens across the continent have been bullied into killing themselves.  Some have become so disillusioned by the world's state of affairs that they've gone to the Middle East to fight for extremist groups in order to be "part of something".

As the caregivers and teachers of the next generation we need to be more engaged, and focus more on education and prevention.  Otherwise our young folks don't stand much of a chance.

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