The Aftermath of the Pandemic on Teens

For many, COVID-19 meant spending days at home, without any in-person socializing. The biggest impact COVID-19 had in terms of socialization is teenagers, who are in the process of finding their social identity, as well as many others; this meant a change of who these people were to become. 

According to a study done by Project AHEAD (Advancing Health and Education for Adolescent Development), COVID-19 has had a major effect on the interpersonal relationships that teenagers have. The study found that overall teens have become closer to their family and slightly more distant from friends. The teenage years are a crucial time in finding one’s identity. Being closer to their parents during this time can overall change the course of their development and who they are as a person as they become an adult, while also perceiving friendships as less important than they would have if Covid had not occurred. 

Covid has also had many negative effects on teens’ mental health. Many teens have reported experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and depression. These levels were higher in those living in more urban areas. There is a heightened stress level for those who have a lower socioeconomic status. Overall, more stress on subjects such as money can put a lot of stress on a teenager, resulting in a change in priorities as they make decisions about the trajectory of their lives.  According to GenYouth, ⅓ of students have said that their future in education has been affected by the pandemic. 

Without proper socialization, not only do teenagers feel anxiety due to isolation, but the pandemic also has the ability to cause social anxiety within teens. Studies have shown that the more screens are used, and the less in person interaction adolescents have, the less teens will pick up on social cues. A lack of emotional intelligence has the ability to result in an increase in social anxiety.