If you type the word “Teenager” into a search engine, the results you will get will make you shudder. “Teen Details Massacre Plot, Reveres Columbine Killer,” or maybe “Teen Smoking Down, Synthetic Drugs Up.” Headlines like these will show up and will go one for pages. The media likes to make it seem like this generation of teenagers is the worst in human history. This is Juvenoia.
Juvenoia is a term coined by David Finkelhor in 2010, as the fear or hostility directed by an older generation towards a younger generation, or youth culture in general. Even though the term was coined in 2010, this issue has been in our society for hundreds to thousands of years. In fact, it dates all the way to ancient Greece. We have quotes from master philosopher Socrates, where he complains about the youth in the Grecian empire.
I’ve seen this so much that it has become a normal part of my life; a part that I despise yet have learned to live with. One time I found myself sitting on the couch, angry about something on my phone, and my father will bring up the classic “Back-in-my-day” argument, which will cause me to roll my eyes and think about how his generation was so dumb and how my generation is the best. The smartest and the wisest. A quote that I really like is from George Orwell, it reads, “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it."
Juvenoia has personally affected every teenager living in the US right now. You commonly see older generations, especially old people on Facebook, lamenting about how the younger generations are ‘so much more privileged’ and that we ‘should be grateful for the things we have.’ I can personally testify that Juvenoia is a force we have to deal with almost every day. What sucks the most is that it is not going away anytime soon.
Every generation has been a teenager. Every generation has their teenagers. We have all of these problems, but how do we fix them? I find that the answer is simple. We talk. The Modern American Teenager, as seen in almost every decade of the world, is supremely underrepresented. People just don’t listen to us. I could say something just as wise as someone who is ten years older than me, and people will still not take me seriously.
The teenager needs representation. People need to understand that Juvenoia could be completely demolished if we were just to talk. Let the people living the modern teenage problems explain what we think about them. Discussion with parents, and even grandparents, about the teenage years could greatly bring a change. If everyone began discussing what teenagers have to go through, and in return the adults helped share some experience and guidelines that most teenagers don't have, the term Juvenoia may become archaic very soon. You could ask any teenager you wanted. We feel unrepresented. When was the last time you remember an actual teenager representing teenage issues?
So continuously I see that at the end of every road comes a story. And, hopefully, the road of Juvenoia will end soon. And even though roads end, there are always more to drive down, so many more to fix, so many more to understand. Sometimes we drive and drive with no end in sight. We may think they are endless. But they aren’t. Teens, I urge you to start the conversation. Ask them about what they have to go through. Listen to what we have to say, because I assure you, we have a lot to say. The end of the road is in sight.