Our kids are depressed! For two years, all they have seen is masked faces. They have been on lockdown in their homes. School is virtual. The only social interaction is via blue screens. The human psyche was not made for this.
“I’ve been practicing pediatrics for 32 years and I have never seen the prevalence of depression in kids that we have now” says Dr. Meg Meeker, MD. She cites the ‘devastation of loneliness’ as isolation keeps children from normal play and interaction with their peers. She says that while kids seem connected via social media, nothing could be further from the truth. Social interaction via the internet does not meet the emotional requirements that a face-to-face interaction does. Due to isolation, humans of all ages are finding it hard to make genuine connections.
Because these connections are not made, children and teens are becoming more and more independent. They are not seeking out the advice of parents, teachers or clergy any longer. They are withdrawing into their own isolated space. “Independence at too young of an age causes them to detach from others; uniqueness drives them into a bizarre land and makes them feel ashamed; and autonomy teaches them that they need no one—not even good parents or loved ones who care. The result is that they feel hurt and confused.” (Dr. Meg Meeker)
In our practice, I am seeing young people who are interacting with what they are seeing on celebrity Instagram pages, not understanding what they are seeing is publicity and not real life. These isolated youth are (in the absence of real interaction with their peers) emulating these public figures with total disregard to social family mores.
What can we adults do to help them? We can do quite a few things to help our young people.
- Limit screen time
- No electronics at the table
- Encourage outdoor activities
- Have conversations with them
- Play board games with them
- Laugh with them
We are all connected at some level. When our young people suffer, we all suffer. It is up to us as mature responsible adults to make this trying time as easy on the younger generations as possible. Dr. Meeker says: “I’ve seen parents profoundly impact the course of their kid’s lives over the past 30 years. When parents kick into gear, the chances that their kids end up in a good place rather than a bad one rise exponentially.” May we all have the courage to make the difference!
Until next time,