Teenage angst: then and now
1. Technology is now a matter of life or death
"I used to stress about whether my frosted-peach lipstick suited
me; nowadays I see teenagers flipping out if their phone battery is
about to die - it literally is the end of the world for them! How did
we cope with a landline, and our mums interrupting us constantly to tell us
off for clogging up the line?!"
2. But it does make it easier to find your tribe
"As a teen, I found being a black-wearing Goth type in a small town
hard - an online community would have reduced that (and let me
3. FOMO (fear of missing out) today is ever-present
"When I was a teenager, clothes and accessories were a big deal - the
latest jeans or rucksacks. Today the biggest pressure for teenagers is to
have the latest phone or tablet, the best profile on social media, and the
most friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter..."
4. Still, at least the threat of atomic apocalypse has
"As a teenager, my main stress was nuclear war. I was convinced we would be
annihilated by the Russians."
5. Body image pressure is definitely getting worse
"I think there is more pressure to be physically perfect - no body fat, no
unwanted hair, smooth skin, etc. The pressure is there for both boys
But 'secretary' or 'nurse' are no longer the only career
options for girls
"If you're a girl there are few jobs you can't do."
growing-up process has accelerated
"I used to get stressed out over my hair. My son is 12, and gets
stressed out because I won't let him play an 18-certificate game with
killing in it..."
8. But it's easier to be yourself
"My 14 year old has openly gay friends. I think teens can be themselves more
and seem to be more accepting of difference. They seem to be generally more
confident and comfortable in their own skin."
9. Education is more competitive
"I think there is more pressure to do well academically. Back in the
80s I just moseyed off to a very good university with rather indifferent
grades, and got a full grant. Now my DS is faced with mega-competition to go
to a good university - plus the fees don't bear thinking
about. Even if he becomes an investment banker, he'll have to live
in my spare bedroom until I pop my clogs."
10. ...and being a teenager costs more
"When we were teenagers we seemed to be able to spend all day in town on a
fiver - we were happy with window shopping and a coffee.
Nowadays, everything seems to cost so much more: the cinema,
clothes, the right trainers..."
11. But, on the upside, friendships have a greater chance of survival
"Technology also has its benefits for teenagers. When we moved to a
different town, Facebook softened the blow of moving away from
friends: it meant the kids could keep in touch with their old friends.
They still talk to some of their primary school friends nine years
later, which wouldn't have been realistic in my teen days."
NCS is a two-three week youth development programme open to all 16
and 17-year-olds across England and Northern Ireland, costing no
more than Â£50. It is recognised by UCAS and employers alike and
takes place this October half term. Sign your teenager up now
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almost 3 years