Monday, July 14, 2014

Teen Overexposure


Teens today are overexposed to everything, aren’t they? And this seems to be hurting teens. They are unhappy and their hopes and aspirations are constantly dashed because of the not good enough right now mentality that is pervading their lives. Some parents seem to be a bit behind the times as the values that they were brought up with were very different from their teens. And some parents find it very difficult to communicate with their teens about this. All of these things together vie to cause a lot of heartbreak for teens and their parents, not to mention a lack of communication.

Parents need to change their approach in order to understand their teens. But before they can do that, parents must listen to their teens and understand the world they inhabit. The world is currently running so fast that none of us, including our teens, can keep up. And the culprit of the problem may be overexposure. This is a problem that won’t go away but may even get worse. So, it is important for the parents of teens to come to terms with this difficulty.

Here are a few ways that our teens are overexposed.

1.   Overexposure to information

    The vast amount of written information increases at an alarming rate today, given the internet and other online sources. In the 1930s, written information doubled every thirty years. In the 1970s and 1980s, that amount of information doubled every eleven years. Today, codified information doubles every eleven hours!  This means that our teens can end their day being half as wise as they were when they woke up in the morning!  The amount of information available today far exceeds their ability to contain it. No wonder our teens are feeling so overwhelmed and unhappy.

    This also affects teens in other ways. Teens today wonder which source is correct. Who should they trust? There is so much information to choose from.  Which one is the most credible? This is a difficult question to answer, and parents need to help their teens to decode this information so that they could find the most reliable sources. 

2.   Overexposure to Images

    The explosion of the number of videos and photos available to our teens is also astronomical. In addition, digital photography has placed cameras in everyone’s hands. Facebook currently has around 250 million pictures uploaded each day and it is growing daily. Sixty nine percent of heads of households play computer and video games at home. This is a very important comment on how we spend our time as a family, isn’t it?  The offensive, unthinkable, and unmentionable are no longer off limits, and the boundaries of images and words have been expanded to the point that very few blush or turn their heads in embarrassment any longer when they are encountered. This can be very unsettling indeed.

    And this hurts teens a lot. This kind of overexposure to offensive material has made teens more numb to images that once offended people. They accept it as normal and some of them even go along with it. This is why parents should try not to tolerate these kinds of images in the home in order for their teens not to be overexposed to these things.

3.   Overexposure to materialism and consumerism

    Every time we turn around, someone is trying to sell something to us or our teens.  This has instilled a materialistic mentality in teens and parents too. One thing that we must do as parents is to show our kids that material possessions cannot make us happy. We need much more than that. A family bike ride after dinner can do much to keep us stay active and happy. We can get a chance to talk and spend time together. The less we are plugged into the media the better. The more we can do other things as a family and step out of the consumeristic mindset the better. And by doing this, parents will be teaching their teens the importance of finding other ways find happiness. Possessions can never be the answer to our happiness and problems. In fact, it is said to cause more problems than it can solve.

Teen overexposure is here to stay. We can help our teens by approaching them at their levels and to really take the time to understand where they are coming from. Instead of parenting from our perspective, we should try and reach out to them and try and counter the effects of overexposure on their lives both now and in the future. 

Irene S. Roth 

Listen to The Empowerment Show on Blog Talk Radio's Featured World of Ink Network at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2014/07/25/the-empowerment-show-with-irene-roth
 

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