How the COVID-19 Pandemic has Affected Teens

Cate Love

In the past year, everyone has made life adjustments due to COVID-19. Our daily lives are different from anything we have ever seen before. Losing a regular routine and being stuck in the house has taken a toll on mental health for many. People are missing out on special events and time with friends and family. More specifically, teenagers are missing some of the most exciting years of their lives. They have seen big changes in their lives, such as even doing high school online.

Arguably, the biggest change in teenagers’ lives has been online schooling. For some, it can be hard to find the self-motivation to do school and many students are not showing up at all. At the time of a Commonsense Media poll last spring, 41% of overall high schoolers said they had not yet attended an online class, while 47% of public high schoolers said they had not attended a class. This disparity can be seen between public and private schools and could create a long-term impact on the wealth gap. Sitting in front of screens for hours can be draining and tiring, and then having homework on top of that is more screen-time.

On the other hand, some pros can be found from this pandemic like teenagers have been getting more sleep. They can spend more spend more time with their families, with this increased time spent with families, relationships have improved. This has shown to have a positive impact on mental health. In some areas, they may have less stress and more time to get things done. According to a poll conducted by The Atlantic, half of teenagers said they had stopped using social media in a mindless way during quarantine.

Teenagers are making the transition from childhood to adulthood, which can be a stressful and confusing time. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added pressures and stress to this transition. Teenagers want to be independent and grown up. They are discovering themselves and becoming their own person. This feeling comes at a time in their lives when they cannot see friends and are stuck in the house. They are missing milestones they have waited their whole lives for. For many, teens are dealing with more than being stuck at home and missing friends. Some are dealing with their family’s financial stress and they may have to pick up a job themselves to help. Some are dealing with the loss of their loved ones.Doctors encourage parents to be creative in finding a way for teenagers to see their friends. It is important to stay connected and being cut off could become a problem. While teens may have to be on screens all day for school, there should still be an effort to take breaks from screens. Getting outside and keeping a regular sleep schedule is also crucial for mental health. The past year has been a challenging time for everyone, and teenagers have had a unique experience. Much of this may have long lasting impacts.