Advances in technology mean today's teens are facing issues that no previous generation has ever seen. While some issues are not exactly new, electronic media has changed or amplified some of the struggles young people face.
In fact, the average teen spends over nine hours each day using their electronic devices. Their social media habits and media consumption are changing the way young people communicate, learn, sleep, and exercise.
Here are the top 5 things today's teens struggle with:
An estimated 3 million adolescents in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 12.5 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 12 and 17.
Depressive disorders are treatable but it's important to seek professional help. if your teen seems withdrawn, experiences a change in his sleep patterns, or starts to perform badly in school, schedule an appointment with your teen's physician or contact a mental health professional.
According to research conducted by Family First Aid, 30 percent of teens in the U.S. have been involved in bullying—either as a victim or as the bully. The rise of social media use by teens has made bullying much more public and more pervasive.
3. Sexual Activity
In a 2013 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 percent of high school students reported being sexually active, and 41 percent said they had not used a condom during their last sexual encounter. Of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases each year, more than half were among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Surveys also show most parents don't believe their children are sexually active. Talk to your teen about sex, even if you don't think your child is sexually active.
4. Drug Use
Marijuana use has been on the rise among adolescents over the past few years according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2012, 17 percent of tenth graders and 23 percent of 12th graders had used marijuana in the past month. Recognize the warning signs of drug use.
Hold regular conversations about the dangers of drugs. And don't forget to mention the dangers of prescription drugs. Many teens do not recognize the dangers of taking a friend's prescription or popping a few pills that are not prescribed to them.
5. Alcohol Use
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports alcohol use has dropped among teens. In 2012, 14.5 percent of 10th graders and 28.1 percent of 12th graders reported getting drunk in the past month. The same research study found that 23.7 percent of high school seniors reported binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row) in the past two weeks.
Have regular conversations about the risks of underage drinking. Educate your teen about the dangers. Express your disapproval of underage drinking and why it can be dangerous for teenagers.
It can go a long way to reducing your teen's risk.
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