The Most Common Problems Teens Are Facing Around the World
The adolescent years in a person’s life are always challenging in some way. Although teens these days still experience many difficulties that previous generations encountered, they are now growing up in a vastly diverse world and face problems that are unique to each individual. Not only do these problems vary from person to person, but they also differ from country to country. Here is a breakdown of the most common challenges teens face around the world today.
Education For Teens
Around the world, access to education is either a right or a privilege. While teenagers in more developed countries, such as England and Canada, receive educational benefits as rights, poorer and underdeveloped countries, like those in Africa, only offer education as a privilege to families who are economically wealthy. Even in developed nations, quality in education can differ. Many urban environments in developed countries contribute to lower quality education due to crime and poverty. Conversely, in these same developed nations, teens of wealthier families are able to attend private schools in safer and more affluent geographical locations.
Hormones are notorious for being inflamed in many teenagers; as a result, many teens engage in sexual activity. This creates an increase in teen pregnancy for underdeveloped countries that do not promote or have access to contraception. Sexual education—or lack thereof—is also a primary force behind increases in pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and the emotional toil that results as a byproduct of teen sex. Although it is a social norm for teens to engage in sexual activity, families with more conservative traditions, such as arranged marriage, could prevent sexual activity from occurring with certain teens of specific religions or cultures.
Stress and Bullying
As teenagers’ bodies change with puberty, peers tend to notice and alienate those with awkward phases, habits, and appearances. At this stage, it’s common for teens to want to fit in with their peer group. Since any type of unusual activity is cause for physical, mental, or emotional bullying, teens like to blend in with others. Conforming to cliques often restricts their individuality, but the alternative can cause immense stress to those who get criticized for expressing themselves. This kind of stress and bulling is mostly seen within more economically thriving nations, since underdeveloped countries face more pressing issues, such as consistent income, adequate housing, and food and water supply.
It’s easy for teens in more affluent nations to become addicted to substances like drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. In particular, drug abuse and crime go hand-in-hand in the U.S. Alcoholism can sometimes even stem from cultures with exposure that is given to children at a young age. These cultures usually consist of families that allow wine to be drank at dinner once a child reaches a certain age. Many western European countries are known for this practice, while the USA enforces strict policies that prohibit alcohol use until age 21 and drug use altogether. In countries with higher restrictions, the punishment often leads to higher incarcerations of teens.
Social Media Distortion
Teens with access to smart phones and more advanced technology are highly exposed to famous people on social media. Not only has this created an addiction trend in teens who are able to have more access to such technology, but it has also formed more eating disorders and body image distortion mindsets among teens. This is due to teens believing in the bodies and lifestyles of social media famous people—those who are able to digitally enhance, filter, or photoshop parts of themselves out altogether. For many teens, it becomes an obsession that consumes their entire lives. On the other hand, teenagers in Africa and other impoverished nations that don’t have much technology, live more simply and rarely understand the notion of social media fame.
Establishing One’s Own Identity
No matter where you go around the world, you can usually hear about a teen who feels lost because they are trying to “find themselves”. Really, they are establishing their own identity based on the morals and values they have from their family, their religion, their country’s culture, and their own mindset. In this process, they can make mistakes and require more time to grow and function in a healthy way.
“All teenagers are trying to figure out who they are,” says Aussie writings editor, Jenny Davis. “They rebel against their parents, take risks, and form their own judgments about the world and everyone around them.”
Teenagers around the world face so many challenges on a daily basis. From the influence of social media, to the accessibility of education, teens today encounter problems that heavily impact who they are. While most teens eventually establish their own authentic identity regardless of these pressures, it’s important to note that everyone at this age experiences difficulties, one way or another.