Teenagers of Today
Teenagers are persons whose age bracket falls between thirteen and nineteen years of age. It’s the age that is preceded by adolescence which is characterized by tremendous psychological and physical changes. Today, teenagers are conspicuously different from the teenagers of the early 2000s also known as millennials and those who came before them. Today’s teens were born between the year 1998 and 2004 when the world was warming up to and welcoming the 21st century. The 21st century introduced the digital era with information technology taking shape and becoming more accessible to billions of people across the world, teenagers and young children included. They are popularly known as the iGeneration or generation Z.
From the way they dress to the way they socialize to their opinion on politics and global issues they portray the image of a young, well-informed human being with a know-it-all attitude. They follow fashion trends of their favorite celebrities They were born into a tech-savvy, fast paced and conflict ridden world with ready access to the media, both mainstream and social media, as well as exposure to violence and x-rated content in the internet. They can connect with their peers digitally on the click of a button on online platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat with majority spending a big chunk of their time online chatting and browsing the internet. Unlike other generations who mostly played outdoor games back in their teenage, the iGeneration plays indoor computer games as well as non- computerized indoor games such as scrabble and chess. Playing outdoors is less popular and is seen as out-dated, old-fashioned and not trendy. They are outrageously obsessed with taking selfies, partying, shopping sprees and an insatiable desire to live a typical bon vivant kind of a lifestyle.
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Despite enjoying all the above privileges and basking in the bliss of technology, teenagers of today are facing a wide ranged myriad of challenges. They are a stressed troubled lot. They suffer from unprecedented levels of peer pressure, violence, sexual abuse and unemployment. Most of them have been victims of cyberbullying with increasing cases being reported every day. Cyber bullying has been exacerbated by the fact that many teens have access to the internet and they spend at least a quarter of their day online. There is speculation that many of these cases are not reported and that many teenagers suffer in silence as they fear being stigmatized or being seen as weak and susceptible to harassment. Cases of radicalization via online platforms are also increasing with many teens getting lured by terror gangs to join them in Jihadist missions around the world. Many teenagers have been nabbed trying to cross the border to join ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terror groups while other have been found in possession of guns and explosives signifying the extent of radicalization, especially by Islamist groups.
Health problems have not spared the modern day teenager either. Staring at screens for a long period of time from a close range and a state of inactivity occasioned by lack of exercise has caused serious ailments among teenagers. Obesity, poor eyesight and mental health issues have become commonplace health concerns for medical scholars. Depression arising from violent experiences and information overload from the media and internet has in many cases resulted in suicide. Majority of them are also alienated from their parents and relatives and do not get adequate parental advice and care since they are either away in school or busy browsing the internet.
The iGeneration is a good group to observe, study and forms a good basis for predicting how future teenagers will be like as we head towards the postmodern era.