You’ve probably seen and read several year-in-review stories about the big events of 2017 by now. But what about the stories that matter most to the teens, college students and young adults who make up the iGeneration? Here’s a look back at some of the highlights of 2017, and how they impact young people.
TRUMP TAKES CHARGE Donald Trump’s policies will determine how much you can borrow for student loans, and how you will repay those loans. The Trump presidency will also shape the job market when you enter the workforce, which in turn will determine how easily it is for you to find a job, how much you’ll get paid, and what kind of housing and transportation you will be able to afford. You probably don’t think much about retirement, but one of the hot-button issues right now is the retirement age. The president and Congress will determine how long you work and when you can retire. NETFLIX DRAWS THE IRE OF HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELORS BULLYING CONTINUES TO TORMENT TEENS WANT TO BE HAPPY? PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN FOOD FOR THOUGHT RIP ‘TEEN BRAIN’ BLOWING IN THE WIND THEY SLOWED DOWN MY PHONE
If you’re in high school, you were in Elementary school the last time we had a new president. If you’ve graduated, this may have been the first presidential election you voted in. On January 20, you witnessed the peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another. Regardless of your political views — and without getting political in this article — a new president has some interesting affects on you as a young American.
The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” was released in 2017 and immediately got a strong negative reaction from high school administrators and teachers across the country. If you haven’t heard of it, the show is about a teenager who commits suicide and leaves behind cassette tapes explaining her reasoning. Parents and teachers are concerned that it glamorizes suicide and doesn’t do enough to explain some of the internal and psychological issues associated with suicidal people. Several high schools sent letters home to parents urging them to use discretion when considering whether or not their teens should watch the show.
Over the summer, 12-year-old Mallory Grossman committed suicide after being bullied. The suicide made the news when her parents sued the school district, claiming they knew the bullying was going on, but did nothing to stop it. Mallory was bullied over social media and in-person, and her parents had previously spoken to school officials about the toll it was taking on their daughter. Cyber-bullying in particular, is a problem schools and communities have yet to solve, and it is destroying the lives of people who are far too young to have to worry about having their reputations ruined. This incident brought the seriousness of the issue to light again, and reminds us that there is a lot more that needs to be done by schools and students to shut the bullies down.
In May, the “Status of Mind” study was released. This study evaluated how teenagers and young adults react to posts they see on social media. Not surprisingly, we learned that the more time you spend on Instagram and Snapchat the more lonely, depressed, and anxious you are likely to feel. Looking at pictures of what other people are doing — or more accurately — the image they want to portray of themselves, plays to our natural fears of missing out. It is what your parents call “keeping up with the Joneses,” but social media accelerates this because it allows us to show people what we want them to see, without giving the whole story. On a positive note, Youtube has a net positive affect on young people. The only thing it does, is keep you from sleeping because you’re binge-watching Youtube videos.
If you go to a public school, you have probably encountered lunch-shaming. In some cases, this means students who have lunch debts at school get bracelets, identifying them to the entire student body, or have paired down meals that make it obvious they couldn’t pay for their lunch. In 2017, 15-year-old Keertana Talla took aim at that practice, launching a GoFundMe campaign to pay off the lunch debts of students in her school district. Once those are paid, she plans to expand to surrounding districts. Talla’s work is an excellent example of a teen standing up for her classmates and challenging a system that she perceives is unfair.
In October, a group of researchers set out to end the myth of “Teen Brain.” This is the idea that teenagers are less capable of self-control than adults, are more impulsive, and are less capable of making rational decisions. This stereotype has plagued teenagers since the 50’s. The idea behind “teen brain” is that the brain is less-developed and therefore more likely to engage in risky behavior. In reality, it isn’t in your head, it’s in your age. Teenagers engage in risky behavior due to youth and lack of experience, not a deficit in the brain.
If there’s one thing that can be said about 2017, it is this: 2017 was the year of the Hurricane. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria took their toll on Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico. Several areas were completely decimated, and as of this writing, power is still out large areas of Puerto Rico. The triad of tropical storms left millions around the world asking, “How can I help?”
We’ve thought for years that Apple has been slowing down older cell phones each time they update iOS, but Apple finally confirmed this in 2017. According to the tech giant, it isn’t an attempt to get you to buy a new phone, but is an effort to make your phone run better. Apple says it makes changes to the overall speed of the phone to preserve battery life. So, if your phone is slow and you think you need a new one, just buy a new battery. Apple has discounted new batteries as part of its apology for not being upfront about slowing the phones down.
TRUMP TAKES CHARGE
Donald Trump’s policies will determine how much you can borrow for student loans, and how you will repay those loans. The Trump presidency will also shape the job market when you enter the workforce, which in turn will determine how easily it is for you to find a job, how much you’ll get paid, and what kind of housing and transportation you will be able to afford. You probably don’t think much about retirement, but one of the hot-button issues right now is the retirement age. The president and Congress will determine how long you work and when you can retire.
NETFLIX DRAWS THE IRE OF HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE COUNSELORS
BULLYING CONTINUES TO TORMENT TEENS
WANT TO BE HAPPY? PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
RIP ‘TEEN BRAIN’
BLOWING IN THE WIND
THEY SLOWED DOWN MY PHONE