If you have teenagers in your life and they seem to not be the happiest campers in the world, the problem is probably clutched in their hands.
In a study co-authored by psychologists from San Diego University and the University of Georgia (talk about two schools with differing views of the world) it was found that teenagers had been increasing their happiness every year, by small doses, through 2012. Then, it took a sharp drop.What was at fault? Was it the recession of 2007? Did teenagers watch their parents suffering mental anguish and go right down with them? Please. Adults are barely human to teenagers and they think even less of the ones they live with.
No, the problem seems to stem from another development that came along in 2007. The dawn of the smartphone.
In 2012, 37 percent of teenagers had a smartphone. By 2017, when this study was done, that number had risen to 73 percent. And mopey, “I hate myself and want to die” teenagers had become even worse.
As you might have guessed, social media is the main driving force behind this unhappiness. Teenagers who were shown spending the most time on social media were by far the unhappiest. But some teenagers were found to be rather happy with their social media use. “Yeah, the suck-ups,” said the unhappy teenagers.
This study said that meant there is a happy level of social media use for teenagers, but good luck in trying to find out what it is.This study actually started way back in 1991, but nobody paid much attention until the happiness factor started heading southward in 2012 and the numbers were tabulated when there was no sign it was going to change direction.
And don’t get worried that it is signaling a trend in teen suicide or teens hurting themselves. They’ve always done that. This was just a startling drop in happiness among a concentrated group.
It’s been many years since I was a teenager. I know, you couldn’t tell it by looking at me, but it’s true. And I remember being both wildly unhappy as a teen when I wasn’t only mildly unhappy. If there was any true happiness when I was a teenager, it was probably in the years when everybody had to ride bicycles everywhere, meaning I could go along. When everybody started to get cars, well, that changed. Momma said we couldn’t afford one, but I think she just liked seeing me miserable.
I wasn’t a stranger to teenage happiness. I could see other teens enjoying the world they lived in. Sure, they all had long shiny hair and their clothes fit perfectly. And that was just the guys! The girls had it even better!
Of course, the popular and pretty girls had it best. They all seemed startlingly smart (they all seemed to think the world had ended if they got a B), their hair was always perfect and they all helped a generation of boys discover the joy of blue jeans.
And they all had rich parents! What was up with that? Does money equal beautiful children? Cause some of their parents left a lot to be desired.
Boys were a slightly different story. Sure, the handsome, athletically gifted boys with rich parents ruled the roost, but you could make your way into that group even if you couldn’t throw a ball and your parents claimed they couldn’t afford to buy you a car. You just had to have a cool factor that overcame all of that. Unfortunately, I didn’t find my cool factor until after school.
Anyway, the bottom line is they all seemed happy. They were always laughing and joking and doing fun things and pretending they didn’t know who I was. Ah, good times.
Looking back, I’m pretty sure I’m the only kid who went through 12 years in Sweetwater schools and was never once considered good looking by some girl some where. I would say it was a club of two, but Tommy Millsaps claims a girl had a crush on him in third grade. There are no official records to back up that claim, so take it as you will.
I like to tell myself that if I was a teenager now, it would be different. I’d use social media to great advantage and have undreamed of popularity. Those handheld computers that also happen to make phone calls wouldn’t leave me depressed!
That’s exactly the way it would be. Trust me.