Teenagers in today's society have, to a great degree, the best and the worst of all worlds.
First, they are born into a society that couldn't be more revolutionary and innovative. They have all these gadgets at their disposal that their parents dreamt of and their grandparents couldn't even imagine. They have an incredible amount of information to aid their development. They also have opportunities galore to express themselves, to extend their reach, to discover their potential and to enhance their life quality. They would not be able to imagine what my world was like, 50 years ago, having to read by candles, having no phones at all, having nothing electrical and hardly any buses (we had to walk everywhere!). The mobile, the microwave, the video and Internet appear to represent an alien world I would not have believed capable of existing in my early childhood. So our youngsters couldn't be more fortunate.
However, they are having to learn even more than we had to do. There are so many things expected of them that they have to cope with, AND teach their parents as well, it must be kind of heavy to deal with, when all they want is to be looked after themselves. Many are confused about their identity, their ability, potential and direction. They have little guidance on innovations and, on top of that, many are kept back in their own development because of their parents' fear of this new world; the mental barriers the parents might have erected in their bid to cope with a new and threatening environment; one that has partially robbed them of their confidence and authority.
Finally, teenagers are increasingly operating within a world of their own through technology, especially with the new games, often lacking human warmth and comfort. They occupy a suspicious world where hugs and basic affection come with questions, doubts and caution. Many of them go through each day missing out on a simple cuddle, a word of praise, a hug, an affirmation of how wonderful they are and without understanding, affection and value. Without the extended family of friends and neighbours who used to affirm us and look after us, many youth now feel isolated, excluded and unloved. This increases the deviant tendency among them as many struggle to deal with their anger and pain. Teenagers live in a remarkable world compared to the one of yesteryear, but one which is slowly losing social connections while it traps the young in an oasis of insularity and virtual reality.