Teenagers in the 21st Century

The 21st century teenager would appear at first glance to be a completely different creature to their 20th century counterparts, however we can draw a few parallels between the two.

– Communication:

One of the biggest differences is the way modern day teens communicate with each other. Whereas we would meet up at the social club, teens don’t need to leave their bedroom. It can seem to a parent that being locked away in a bedroom for hours on end is anti-social, but the truth is they talk more with their peers that we ever did. They are constantly communicating using some indecipherable code and each week, 5 or 6 newly invented words are added to the secret teen language to stop anyone over the age of 21 every truly getting to grips with it.

Tapping on the screen of a phone still seems alien to many of us but it seems to be hard-wired into the brains of today’s youth. In a similar way to how a baby will grasp you finger if you touch it’s little hand, teenagers seem to have an innate ability to effortlessly use any kind of hand-held device.

Gadgets aren’t cheap though and teenagers aren’t rich, which means pressure is put on parents to buy them the new iPhone when it comes out “because everyone else has got one.” It’s difficult to advise whether or not you should indulge your child with the latest gizmos, it’s a personal choice but the phrase “life’s not fair” was a phrase many of our generation heard often. It was in no way comforting but probably did prevent a lot of people becoming spoilt brats. Even when teenagers are playing on the Playbox or the Xstation, or whatever it’s called, they are talking through headsets, which may actually be good training for when they later in life inevitably find work in a call centre. Which brings me on to the next difference…

– Finding jobs:

Today’s young adults are maybe not given enough sympathy from their parents for not being able to find work. As you know, the economy has for most of the 21st century been, to put it mildly, a bit rubbish. If you’re in a long term job and it hasn’t really affected you, it’s easy to believe that your son or daughter is just being lazy and the fact that there is very limited work available is a concept many parents find impossible to fathom. Hearing the words “you need to get a job” is frustrating to those teens who are applying to lots of companies and never hearing back from them – their morale is probably low enough and a lack of understanding from parents mixed with feelings of embarrassment or inadequacy will make it one of your child’s least favourite topics of conversation with you. Second only to:

– The birds and the bees

This used to be a conversation where the parent would explain to their maturing son or daughter about the changes happening in their body and where baby’s come from. Nowadays it is taught in great detail at school as well as on the internet. In fact it is more likely that your teenage child could teach you something about the subject than the other way around. Discreet research has replaced awkward conversation, however that is not to say that you shouldn’t broach the subject with your child because they may have questions. If they run away though, or put in their earphones you know they’ve probably already heard it all before from a less cringe-worthy source.

On a similar note today’s kids are also much better informed about recreational drug taking by the internet which seems to be at the hub of the modern day teen’s life. They can even use it to cheat on, or help with homework if they have enough time for that nonsense after facebooking.

So you can sit back and watch your son / daughter make all the same mistakes that you did in your teenage years, probably identifying with their battle against hormones and emotions. The only difference is that they knew this was all going to happen to them, they knew they were making mistakes because all the information is at their fingertips. The saying goes, “you learn from your mistakes” – not “you learn about hearing of others’ mistakes”!