There seems to be a growing number of children today showing signs of anxiety in younger ages. As I sit through parent/teacher conferences, I am consistently seeing a pattern of this from our middle school aged children and younger. In fact, I would say over the last 2 years especially, there has been a distinct rise in the number of parents mentioning anxiety or stress once or twice during a conference.
According to a 2016 Time Report titled “Anxiety, Depression and the Modern Adolescent”, there has definitely been a rise in young adolescents experiencing some type of major depressive episode in the past couple of years according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, this tends to affect girls a little more than boys. As adults, many times we attribute the cause of these problems to possibly someone else in the family exhibiting these types of issues or as people like to say, children today are being given things too easily and not being held accountable for their actions and thus receive no consequences. Perhaps, some of these things are true, but it is really hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing the rise of anxiety.
We can all agree as a whole on one thing however. The world in which we live in today is in much more turmoil. Young adolescents are living in a climate that usually keeps them on pins and needles let’s say. In other words, they have had to deal with terrorism, economic instability, school shootings, increase of school accountability and the quick rise of social media and all types of technology. They have seen many changes and quickly! This alone can cause some uneasiness with some children.
It seems young people today have a whole lot going on and have a world that has constant good and bad in it. You may say that it has always been this way; however, the main difference is the easy access to technology and communication. Children today know all the news in seconds as it’s at their fingertips on IPADs at school or on cell phones! They cannot seem to get away from it at all. It appears that their sweet little minds never really get a break from it. Various social topics in today’s society just adds even more to their life along with the political climates being seen on social media channels. Even when there is a school break such as Thanksgiving or Winter Holidays, most children are where? Back on their computer reading more about what is going on in society today…good or bad.
Likewise, the social media craze has taken over adulthood as well. Parents and grandparents are constantly looking at social media whether for pleasure or to gain information. There really needs to be a cut-off time for all ages, and the adults need to take that initiative and set that time for the family as a whole! It’s important to shut all electronics down early enough for everyone to have some calmness before they turn in for the night. As we are all aware, using technology late into the evening can overly stimulate the mind and cause sleep deprivation.
One more important thing to consider in the cause of all this anxiousness is the pressure being put on schools and teachers themselves to increase test scores. This pressure is then passed onto the children to perform to their highest ability. Many times, kids will start to blame themselves or worry about their performance on a test or project. This can then turn into an anxiety disorder if it’s something that consistently happens and does not get dealt with early on. High School students are not immune as they have the pressure of getting high SAT or ACT scores to get into the best colleges possible or ones that will offer a scholarship.
In summary, as a parent, you should always be aware of your child’s mood and behavior. If a distinct change occurs, you may want to address it with your child. Of course, seek professional help if needed. Many times, if you head off a problem before it worsens, you have a better chance of resolving it quickly. We, as adults, need to make sure we do not get caught up in all the technology hype to the point we are not cuing into problems that could be occurring at home. It’s easy in this age of technology to get distracted, but I know we can all agree on one thing, our children and their health are the most important thing in life! If Dynamis Learning Academy can help ease the stress of academic problems, please reach out to us. Wishing you and your family peace and calmness always.