The Kids — They May Not be Alright

A poster at Twitter, responding to a CDC survey showing that 45% of high school students were so persistently sad or hopeless that they were unable to engage in regular activities and that almost 1 in 5 had seriously considered suicide. His story:

One of my kids’ best friends went to a remote, outward bound style summer camp deep last summer. She came back giddy, and told her mom how amazing it was that the entire time she was there no one talked about climate change or politics or activism or genders. For 2 weeks, they were all allowed to just be kids again. Parents – liberals in particular – think they’re churning out little warriors now, but they aren’t. They’re churning out depressed, confused, terrified, angry, despondent, lost, broken young adults. As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting depression, seeing what we’re doing to our kids fucking infuriates me, and the idea that it’s perceived by so many as virtuous sends me over the edge. Kids’ lives are so wrapped up in the twin harms of the shallowness of social media and the existential dread of things far out of their control that they’re breaking apart, and parents are facilitating it.

The Twitter thread is here…also read the comments.

10 thoughts on “The Kids — They May Not be Alright”

  1. Quite a few comments claimed that the poster was over-reacting, either because “my kids” aren’t that way or because being worried about things they can’t do anything about is absolutely the right way to live. Probably a number of kids are resilient enough to shrug off the nonsense (tell teacher what she want to hear and make fun behind her back), but I suspect the influence on the margins is pretty large–though I only have indirect evidence of that, mostly anecdotal.

    AVI noticed that the kids haven’t lived in a world without social media, and that it forms a significant part of the way they interact with each other. Since we feel that we exist at least partly through our relations to each other, and a substantial fraction of their relationships are filtered and shaped through the social media, their sense of self is at the mercy of what I’d call fragile media connections. AVI can correct/clarify — I can’t find the post at the moment.

    I don’t see how the events of the past few years could possibly have made things better for mental health. The relative role of social media had to be larger when there was less face to face contact, the focus of CRT was how bad society is and you are for not trying hard enough to change it, the news was 24/7 panic–There’s plenty of temptation to rely on your small digital world. That won’t be good enough.

  2. I’d guess that, for most, they respond as they think they should after long indoctrination. I suspect that few have any idea what “depression” really is. In general, diagnosis, means a talk with a neutral professional, not a “pop” questionnaire.

  3. Twitter where the every day thoughts of regular people are posted. A place I would avoid myself, but then I have no time for Facebook or any of the social media cesspools.

    Having an uber twit take over Twitter seemed entirely appropriate.

  4. If there’s one word that describes adolescents, It’s vulnerable. They haven’t learned where to set the governor on their emotions and how to use the brakes and all the levers yet. They may have the independence and freedom to get into serious trouble before they develop the judgement to avoid it.

    When they are surrounded by adults that truly care for their well being, it usually turns out OK. On the other hand, adults seeking some “higher” purpose find that they can easily be manipulated. There’s nothing new about this.

    Here’s a demonstration of the huge multiplication of administrators in education.

    It’s not plausible that students can spend as much time with teachers as they do without encountering the teachers opinions on matters far afield from the official curriculum. In theory, this would be countered by two forces. First: the decency and humility of the teacher. Second: all the other adults, especially parents, in the students life with opinions of their own.

    This amelioration increasingly fails for two reasons. First: the teachers have determined they have an absolute duty to indoctrinate the students entrusted to their care with whatever they see as suiting their purposes. Those purposes are now almost entirely the increase and consolidation of teacher’s or, more accurately, the teacher’s political commissar’s political power. Second, and even more intractably: too many adolescents have few adults in their lives and some of those adults are, shall we say, less than good examples.

    What to do? Close all the public schools and leave education up to the parents? While in many cases, the results couldn’t be any worse, that’s not going to happen. Charter schools?
    Among the many controversies surrounding Delon Sanders are a couple of Charter schools in Texas that were somewhat less than optimal. A more decentralized education system also couldn’t be worse but will inevitably fall under the control of those that care very deeply about something, not necessarily the students. Anyone that’s ever dealt with an HOA will know what I mean.

  5. Had trouble deciding whether this should be here or on Jonathan’s. It’s hard to see anything good happening in this sort of environment.

    Then you read down and find that some of this is being choreographed by the teacher’s union and have to wonder why they are bringing up such clear safety issues only now. This isn’t something that just happened, it’s been going on for years. Presumably, since the politicking is at a lower ebb after the election, the union bosses have time to concern themselves with minutiae like teacher safety.

  6. from my experience in the broward public schools, about a decade ago, there are very few management tools, teachers can employ, to manage unruly students, its probably even worse the farther north one

  7. In growing up, children learn what their own boundaries of self are. This is me, this is not me….and being me does not have to mean being a total jerk.
    Train up a child in the way he should go – not in the way someone else wants him to go.
    To grow without being warped or damaged requires a safe environment, and a sane society would make this a priority.

  8. “a sane society would make this a priority.”

    A sane society, looking to the future, would have made the well-being of children the sole factor in divorce proceedings. So what if momma has found herself a new beau and pappa wants some peace & quiet? The only issue in divorce ought to have been ensuring that the children are brought up well until the youngest turns 18.

    But many years ago, our society chose a different path. And then we are surprised that too many of the products of those broken homes unprotestingly put on worthless masks and allow themselves to be injected with dangerous experimental treatments.

  9. Young children are naturally the most curious creatures. Why, why, why, without end. If the schools were as good at teaching reading in 12 years as they are at squelching this wondrous facility in two or three, we wouldn’t be discussing this here.

    If the children of divorce, as they used to be known, were the only problem, we would be in considerably less trouble. Unfortunately, around 1960(?) it was discovered that matrimony was not a requirement for gestation. While the courts seem to have forgotten any commitment to children, part of their apathy probably comes down to recognition of futility. It’s not like there’s some sort of minimum requirement for parents.

    When some large proportion of the parents don’t care, the best schools would be challenged, the schools we have don’t have a chance if they could be bothered to try. They haven’t been trying for a long time.

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