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The internet is destroying our kids — shocking new CDC teen report the latest proof

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the agency’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted every two years, and it painted a grim picture for our young people.

Among the more alarming stats: Most teen girls (57%) felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, which is double the rate for teen boys (29%). Nearly one in three teen girls seriously considered attempting suicide.

Teenage angst and apathy are not some novel social development. Every generation has their own version of hormonal uprising — and yes, the inevitable adult handwringing that goes with it.

The boomers cut their teeth on rock ’n’ roll and “Rebel Without a Cause.” When I was in high school, bands of sullen, shaggy-haired kids pledged their allegiance to the music and hopelessness of Kurt Cobain.

Being an emo teenager has always been a rite of passage, but it’s increasingly becoming a crisis.

So what the hell has changed? Well, just about everything.

Today’s kids are emerging from the upending and isolating COVID lockdowns. They are more medicated than ever, and they live a large portion of their lives online. And it’s hard to dispute that the internet and social media have greased the slide into the abyss — especially for vulnerable young people.

Social media and the internet help already anxious teens doomscroll.
Getty Images

Study after study has proven this, including the 2020 findings that Instagram was wreaking havoc on the mental state of girls.

And yet, no one has intervened in a meaningful way.

Whatever your poison — depression, eating disorders or gender confusion — you’ll find it on some corner of the internet. There are subreddits, TikToks and YouTube videos that cater to them all, creating a feedback loop that can be virtually inescapable.

Online, teens are fed the cynical ideas that capitalism sucks — they’re either the oppressors or the oppressed — language is violence and, if they make it out of their teen years, climate change is waiting to wallop them with the death blow.

No wonder these kids are paralyzed by anxiety.


Adriana Kuch killed herself after being beaten up in school and a video of the attack was sent out on social media.
Adriana Kuch killed herself after being beaten up in school and a video of the attack was sent out on social media.
Facebook/Jennifer Ferro

These sites and platforms also work to supplant parents as gatekeepers. Instead of reaching out to adults for help, kids can find an array of self-anointed “therapists” inside their phone — many of them monsters selling malleable teens on fringe ideas. And of course there’s the weird fetishization of mental illness, including the swath of girls on TikTok presenting symptoms of Tourette syndrome.

Previous generations had to pick up a book or play a record to help define the vague despair they felt. It took effort to have some introspection — something that is healthy in small doses.

Now, kids have doomscrolling on demand and information overload.

But one doesn’t need to read an alarming study from the CDC to know there’s a mental health crisis for young people in this country. You just have to read the newspaper. In the last two weeks, stomach-turning videos have emerged, one of a 9-year-old girl being attacked on a school bus by a 15-year-old boy. Then there’s the tragic case of 14-year-old Adriana Kuch, who took her own life after she was beaten by bullies in the hallway of her New Jersey school and the video was disseminated on social media.


A myriad of issues plague teens, who are reporting alarming rates in depression.
A myriad of issues plague teens, who are reporting alarming rates in depression.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

So even if you can control how your kid uses the internet, you can’t control how it will be used against your kid. 

These statistics should serve as a wake-up call to adults to take more of an assertive role in moderating internet use. We know we can’t shut off the internet and send kids out into the world with flip phones.

But we can focus on sharpening their coping skills instead of constantly reminding them of their own fragility.

We’re so quick to teach kids to “be kind” that we’re forgetting to also teach them to be tough. While it won’t inoculate them from all the teenage ills, thick skin is a good tool to have in the arsenal.

This article was originally posted by The New York Post.

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Written by New York Post

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