adapting to change

5 Ways Teens Are Adapting to Change

In February of this year almost every teenager was looking forward to how their life would change. Perhaps it was graduation, prom, learning to drive, or transitioning to high school. The exciting, positive changes of being a teenager.

Then came COVID-19 and their lives changed in way no one could have ever expected. Seemingly overnight their entire lives were canceled and replaced by something new. The kitchen table became their classroom. Sports, drama, band, parties even graduations were cancelled. Social distancing became the new normal impacting friendships and romantic relationships.

For adults, the change was equally surprising. As we struggled to cope ourselves, it could be easy to overlook how the teens in our life are dealing with the changes. What impact has COVID-19 had on teens and how have they adapted to the change? Here are 5 significant ways they have adapted.

1. They’re turning to social media to adapt to change.

At first you may think, weren’t teens already on social media all the time? You may be surprised to learn around 63% of parents say their teen’s use of social media has increased during COVID. The increase is completely understandable.

First, they now have more time. Time spent going to the mall, movies, Starbucks or even school stopped. That space needed to be filled and many teens resorted to social media. While now always the best use of time, social media allows them to stay connected with their peers and see what is going on in their lives, either through watching Snapchat and TikTok videos or engaging in conversations on Instagram or Twitter.

2. They’re spending time with friends virtually.

Since many in-person events were cancelled, parents and teens became resourceful in scheduling virtual proms and parties. This helped maintain a small sense of normalcy and ensured teens were able to experience those special once in a lifetime moments. Even the more routine things in a teen’s life, like sleepovers, became virtual. Although they aren’t in the same room, this allows them to stay connected with friends, even if they are gossiping over Zoom, watching a movie using Netflix Party, or engaging in a dance off over Skype. Even teens who tend to be introverted are spending more time video chatting with their closest friends.

3. They’re engaging in competitions.

Competitive activities and sports may have been put on hold but that hasn’t stopped teens from competing. Many have turned to video games such as Among Us, Animal Crossing or Fall Guy. This allows even the novice gamer to enjoy some fun and competition. Of course, other teens are doing more of something they were doing long before all these changes took place. They are spending quality time online with friends via XBox or PlayStation, while playing games such as Uncharted, Destiny, or Assassin’s Creed.

4. They’re learning more about themselves.

Some teens have used these changing times as an opportunity to learn more about themselves. Before COVID, it wasn’t unusual for their life to be a whirlwind of sports and drama practices, club meetings, and hanging out with friends. Now that they have time to breathe, they’re getting the chance to reflect on who they are. Some have picked up old hobbies, such as drawing, reading, writing, and more. Others are spending this time thinking about their future.

5. They are reconnecting with their immediate family.

Before COVID, we were all busy. COVID has forced us to slow down. Without their usual opportunities for afterschool activities and hanging out with friends, teens, along with their parents and siblings, are spending more time at home. From cooking to playing board games or simply watching a movie, everyone is spending more time together, which is bringing many families closer together.

There’s no denying the fact that today’s teens have experienced change like no generation before them. It will shape their lives forever. Fortunately, many are taking these changes in stride. However, ask the teens in your life how they are adapting and adjusting. You might find they could use a little help and you might be surprised what you learn from them.

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