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The generation of teenagers today are known to face challenges that are greatly different in comparison to those faced in the past. For example, Savannah Rivers, a girl who started using drugs and alcohol since she was 10, has been addicted since. As unusual and shocking this may seem, this is not the only story from the endless cases of underage drug and alcohol use. A number of teenagers today are familiar with using drugs and alcohol, but unfamiliar with the consequences that may follow. As well as drug and alcohol use, depression and bullying also have major impacts on a teenager’s mentality and actions. Overall, these problems are influenced and centre around the social welfare of society. Today because of these problems, it is evident to see teenagers are faced with challenges that are significantly greater than those by the youth of the past.
Firstly, today underage drinking and drugs is not uncommon, and often lead to disastrous consequences. In 2009, it is estimated that 7.3 million teenagers around the world between ages 12 and 16 have tried alcohol. Realistically, this is an alarming number of people. There are various reasons why alcohol and drugs are strictly limited to people of the ages 18 and up. Over 5,000 people under the age of 18 die each year from alcohol influenced accidents such as car accidents, homicides, suicides as well as alcohol poisoning. Furthermore, Dr Clark DB from the US National Library of Medicine states, “Exposure to drugs and alcohol to the adolescent brain may interrupt the course of brain maturation and key processes of brain development.” In other words, alcohol and drugs have many serious effects on the undeveloped teenage mind. These impacts from drugs and alcohol on a premature brain can possibly leave lifelong and irreparable disabilities.
Secondly, depression among teenagers has significantly increased over the years, affecting teenagers in many ways, socially and mentally. Depression for many teenagers progress as time passes, eventually resulting in suicide, if not the thought of suicide and suicidal attempts. It affects a large number of teenagers today, as the proportion of 15 to 16 year olds that have dealt with depression has increased from 7% to 15% since 1999. Teenagers tend to become isolated from those around them, and think negatively of themselves when dealing with depression. As it is a difficult mental problem to overcome, several cases of depression tend to result in suicide. Saying this, study shows suicide has found to be the third leading cause of death amongst teenagers. Surely, it is evident that depression and suicide both have major impacts on a teenager, causing self-esteem issues as well as other mental problems.
Lastly, many people often claim that although bullying is present among teenagers today, the same amount of bullying was present in the past, therefore affected them just as emotionally and mentally. Certainly, bullying had an effect on youth of the past, but it is highly doubtful that bullying was the same and is as common as it is today. Bullying in today’s time has increasingly become harsh. With the 21st century’s rapid development of technology, teenagers are exceedingly vulnerable to cyberbullying. It is found that 41% of teenagers have experienced cyberbully, and 30% have been through physically bullying. That is estimated to be a staggering 5.7 million teenagers, where as in the past, only 13% of teenagers experienced bullying overall. It is evident that although bullying was present in the past, it has definitely evolved and changed over time, but still has the same emotional effect on teenager.
In conclusion, the impact of drugs and alcohol, depression and bullying on a teenager’s mind result in many challenges and problems the teenager must face. We have all heard of Amanda Todd, a girl who was bullied to the point where she committed suicide in October 2012. There have been several incidents in the last decade similar to Amanda’s, causing a stir in the news each time. In the past, it was rare to hear of teenagers who were bullied to such an extent. Over time, the social welfare of our society has changed, including how we as individuals behave and relate, as well as how well we look after each other in society. As a result of this, the problems and challenges that were present in the past have become more difficult to overcome. Surely, it is evident that because of the impacts of drugs and alcohol, depression and bullying, teenagers are now faced with challenges that are significantly greater than those faced by the youth of the past.