what do teens worry about

Teens’ Top Concerns: What Do Teens Worry About?

Welcome to our article on the top concerns of today’s teenagers. As adolescents navigate the challenges of growing up in a rapidly changing world, it’s important to understand the issues that weigh heavily on their minds. From teenage anxiety to academic pressures, we’ll explore the factors that contribute to the stress and concerns faced by Gen Z, the youth of today.

To get a deeper understanding of teenage concerns, a Pew Research Center survey was conducted among U.S. teens aged 13 to 17. This survey revealed some common fears and stressors that affect teenagers across gender, racial, and socio-economic lines. Let’s dive into some of the key findings to gain insights into the struggles faced by today’s teens.

  • Anxiety and depression are major concerns among American teens
  • Bullying, drug addiction, and alcohol consumption are worrisome issues for teens
  • Academic pressure is a significant stressor, with a focus on getting good grades
  • Girls express more concern about college aspirations and physical appearance
  • Teens from lower-income households worry more about teen pregnancy, bullying, drug addiction, poverty, and gangs

Understanding the worries of teenagers is crucial in providing them with the necessary support and resources to navigate these challenges. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the mental health challenges, pressure and stress, gender differences, socio-economic factors, social media impact, violence in media, and substance abuse concerns among teens. By shedding light on these topics, we hope to equip parents, educators, and society with the knowledge to address the concerns of today’s youth effectively.

Mental Health Challenges Among American Teens

mental health challenges among American teens

Anxiety and depression are significant concerns among American teens, with seven-in-ten seeing them as major problems among their peers. The prevalence of anxiety disorders among teens is around 7%, while serious depression has been on the rise among teens, with 12.8% experiencing a major depressive episode in the past year. However, less than half of teens with major depression receive treatment. These mental health challenges are a growing concern for teenagers and require professional help and support.

Teenage anxiety and depression have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. According to a study, 70% of American teens view anxiety and depression as significant problems among their peers. This growing trend raises concerns for the mental well-being of young people.

Anxiety disorders affect approximately 7% of teenagers, highlighting the urgent need for mental health support. Additionally, serious depression rates have been on the rise, with 12.8% of teens experiencing a major depressive episode within the past year. Alarmingly, less than half of teenagers with major depression receive the necessary treatment.

Addressing these mental health challenges among teens is crucial. It is essential to provide them with the professional help and support they need to navigate these difficulties and promote their overall well-being.

“The rising rates of anxiety and depression among teens are a cause for concern. It’s important for society as a whole to prioritize mental health and ensure that young people have access to the necessary resources for their well-being,” says Dr. Sarah Thompson, a prominent child psychologist.

Understanding the prevalence of teenage anxiety and depression is the first step in addressing these mental health issues. By providing appropriate support systems and destigmatizing mental health, we can work towards creating a more supportive environment for teenagers.

  1. Teenage anxiety and depression affect a significant number of American teens.
  2. Anxiety disorders impact around 7% of teenagers, while serious depression rates have been on the rise.
  3. Less than half of teenagers with major depression receive the necessary treatment.
  4. Professional help and support are crucial in addressing these mental health challenges among teens.
  5. Destigmatizing mental health and creating a supportive environment are vital for the well-being of teenagers.

Pressure and Stress among Teens

teen pressures

Academics top the list of pressures teens face, with 61% of teens feeling a lot of pressure to get good grades. It’s not surprising considering the emphasis our education system places on academic achievement. However, academic pressure is just one aspect of the complex web of pressures that teens experience.

Teenagers also face social pressure to look good, fit in socially, be involved in extracurricular activities, and excel in sports. These social expectations can be overwhelming and contribute to the overall stress experienced by teens.

While drug addiction and alcohol consumption are major problems among teens, it is interesting to note that fewer than one-in-ten teens feel a personal pressure to use drugs or drink alcohol. This suggests that the external pressures relating to substance use may be more prevalent than internal pressures among teenagers.

The pressure to succeed academically is not just a result of societal expectations, but it is also tied to teens’ post-graduation goals. Many teens planning to attend a four-year college feel an increased pressure to get good grades in order to gain admission to their desired institutions.

Overall, the pressures and stressors faced by teens are multi-faceted and encompass various aspects of their lives. It is essential for parents, educators, and society as a whole to recognize these pressures and provide the necessary support and resources to help teens navigate through them.

The Impact of Pressure and Stress on Teenagers

The burden of pressure and stress can take a toll on teenagers’ mental and physical well-being. The constant striving for academic success can lead to anxiety, sleep disturbances, and even depression. Social pressure to fit in and meet societal expectations may result in low self-esteem and a negative body image.

The pressure to succeed and meet the high expectations set by society can be overwhelming for teens. It’s important for parents and educators to create a supportive environment that encourages balance and healthy coping mechanisms.

While pressure and stress are inevitable parts of life, it is crucial to equip teens with the necessary skills and strategies to manage stress effectively. Teaching them resilience, time management, and self-care techniques can go a long way in helping them navigate the challenges they face.

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Tips for Parents and Educators

  • Encourage open communication and create a safe space for teens to express their concerns and fears.
  • Teach stress management techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and exercise.
  • Promote a balanced lifestyle that includes relaxation, hobbies, and time for self-care.
  • Help teens set realistic goals and manage their time effectively.
  • Encourage involvement in activities that foster a sense of belonging, such as clubs or community service.

By addressing the pressures and stressors faced by teens and providing them with the necessary support, we can help them develop healthier coping mechanisms and create a more positive and fulfilling teenage experience.

Gender Differences in Teens’ Concerns

When it comes to teen concerns, there are noticeable gender differences in aspirations and worries. Let’s take a closer look:

College Aspirations

Girls are more likely than boys to plan on attending a four-year college. They express more worry about getting into their school of choice and see it as a priority. On the other hand, boys tend to prioritize having a lot of money in the future.

“I want to go to college and pursue my dream career. It’s really important to me.”
– Lily, 16 years old

Career Goals

Both girls and boys prioritize having a job or career they enjoy. They understand the significance of pursuing their passions and finding fulfillment in their professional lives. Additionally, future plans include getting married and having children, indicating a shared desire for long-term stability and personal happiness.

Girls’ Worries

Girls often feel more pressure to look good and meet societal expectations of beauty. This concern can create feelings of tension and nervousness about their day-to-day lives. It is crucial to support girls in building a positive body image and self-confidence.

Boys’ Priorities

Boys, on the other hand, prioritize financial success and the accumulation of wealth. This aspiration may stem from societal expectations and the desire to provide for themselves and their future families.

“I want to have a successful career and make a lot of money. It’s important to me to be able to support myself and my loved ones.”
– Ethan, 17 years old

Despite these gender differences, both boys and girls share common goals of finding meaningful work, starting a family, and leading fulfilling lives. By understanding and supporting each other’s aspirations, we can create a more inclusive and balanced future.

Socio-Economic Factors and Teens’ Concerns

socio-economic factors and teen concerns

Socio-economic factors, such as income levels, play a significant role in shaping the concerns of teenagers. Research has shown that teens from households with higher incomes are more likely to aspire to attend a four-year college compared to those from lower-income households.

Teens from lower-income households face unique challenges and express greater concern about affording college tuition and helping their families financially. These concerns can add additional pressure to their already demanding lives.

Furthermore, socio-economic factors influence the perceived problems in their communities. Teens from lower-income households are more likely to identify teen pregnancy, bullying, drug addiction, poverty, and gangs as significant issues affecting their daily lives.

By understanding how socio-economic factors shape the concerns and experiences of teens, we can develop more targeted interventions and support systems to address their specific needs.

Teens’ Concerns Based on Socio-Economic Factors

Concern Higher-Income Households Lower-Income Households
College Aspirations More likely to plan on attending a four-year college Express concern about affording college
Teen Pregnancy Perceive it as a problem, but not a top concern Perceive it as a major problem
Bullying Perceive it as a problem, but not a top concern Perceive it as a major problem
Drug Addiction Perceive it as a problem, but not a top concern Perceive it as a major problem
Poverty Perceive it as a problem, but not a top concern Perceive it as a major problem
Gangs Perceive it as a problem, but not a top concern Perceive it as a major problem

The table above highlights the differences in concerns based on socio-economic factors among teens. It emphasizes the need for a comprehensive approach to address the wide-ranging challenges faced by teenagers, irrespective of their background, income, or community.

Moving forward, it is crucial to develop strategies that support college aspirations, address financial hurdles, and provide resources to combat the major issues affecting teens in lower-income households. By addressing these socio-economic factors, we can create a more equitable and supportive environment for all teenagers.

Social Media and Teen Concerns

social media impact

Social media has increasingly become a dominant presence in the lives of teenagers, posing both benefits and challenges. While it allows them to connect with friends, share experiences, and explore new ideas, there are also growing concerns about the negative impact it can have on their well-being.

Cyberbullying: A Disturbing Reality

One of the most pressing issues related to social media is cyberbullying, which involves the use of digital platforms to harass, intimidate, or humiliate others. Unfortunately, the anonymity provided by social media can embolden individuals to engage in harmful behaviors, leading to serious consequences for victims.

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According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 37% of teens in the United States have experienced some form of cyberbullying. The negative effects of cyberbullying can extend beyond the virtual world, significantly impacting a teenager’s mental health and overall well-being.

Mental Health Impact

Social media can also have a detrimental effect on teenagers’ mental health. Studies have shown a correlation between excessive social media use and increased feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness among teens. The constant exposure to carefully curated images and highlight reels of others’ lives can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

“Social media gives us the false impression that everyone else’s lives are perfect, and this can make us feel miserable about our own lives.” – Ava, 17

Additionally, the constant pressure to conform to societal beauty standards and the fear of missing out (FOMO) can contribute to heightened stress levels and a decreased sense of well-being.

Inappropriate Content and Online Safety

Another concern related to social media is the exposure of teens to inappropriate content. With the ease of access to various types of media, including explicit images, violent videos, and harmful ideologies, parents and guardians must prioritize online safety measures.

It is crucial for parents to have open and honest conversations with their teens about the potential risks of engaging with inappropriate content online. Educating them about privacy settings, responsible online behavior, and the importance of reporting and blocking abusive users can empower teenagers to navigate social media platforms safely.

Staying Informed and Engaged

Given the pervasive influence of social media in teenagers’ lives, it is essential for parents, educators, and society as a whole to stay informed about the latest apps and websites that teenagers are using. This allows for effective communication and guidance, ensuring that teens are equipped with the necessary knowledge to make responsible decisions online.

By fostering an environment in which open dialogue about social media takes place, adults can support teenagers in understanding the potential risks and benefits associated with these platforms. Providing guidance on setting healthy boundaries for social media use and encouraging offline activities can contribute to a more balanced and fulfilling teenage experience.

While social media offers tremendous opportunities for connection and self-expression, it is crucial to approach it with caution and awareness. By prioritizing online safety, fostering positive mental health practices, and promoting healthy technology habits, we can create a safer and more positive online environment for today’s youth.

Violence in Media and Teen Concerns

Today’s teens are constantly exposed to various forms of violence in media, including TV shows, movies, music, and video games. This exposure to violent content has raised concerns regarding its impact on teenagers’ behavior and well-being.

Studies have linked exposure to violent media with a lack of empathy and an increase in aggressive behavior among teens. Consuming violent content may desensitize teenagers to real-life violence, making them more likely to engage in aggressive acts or exhibit aggressive behavior.

“Exposure to violent media can shape the way teenagers view the world and interact with others,” says Dr. Emily Sanchez, a child psychologist. “It’s important for parents to understand the potential influence of media on their teens’ behavior and take steps to promote healthier media consumption habits.”

Parents play a crucial role in influencing how their teens relate to media. By implementing certain strategies, they can help their teenagers develop a healthy understanding of violence and critical thinking skills when consuming media.

  1. Limit exposure to violent content: Parents should be vigilant in monitoring the media their teens consume and restrict access to excessively violent content. Setting limits on screen time and enforcing age-appropriate content guidelines can help create a safer media environment.
  2. Discuss the dangers of violence: Engaging in open and honest conversations about the potential consequences of violence is essential. Parents should educate their teens about the impact of violence on individuals and society, encouraging empathy and compassion.
  3. Promote media literacy: Teaching teens to critically analyze and question media messages can enhance their media literacy skills. By understanding the motives and techniques used in media production, teens can develop a more discerning approach to consuming violent content.

Making an effort to guide and educate teens about violence in media can contribute to their overall well-being and promote responsible media consumption habits.

Teen Substance Abuse Concerns

Teen substance abuse, including drug addiction, alcohol consumption, and vaping, is a pressing issue that needs attention. Although there has been a decrease in alcohol consumption among teens in recent years, the high prevalence of marijuana use and the rise of vaping are alarming trends.

According to recent studies, marijuana remains a commonly used substance among teens, with significant consequences for their health and well-being. Additionally, the popularity of vaping has increased rapidly among adolescents, with potential risks that are still being studied.

It is crucial to educate teens about the risks associated with drug and alcohol use. Parents play a pivotal role in having open and regular conversations about the dangers and consequences of substance abuse. By providing accurate information and fostering an environment of understanding, parents can help their teens make informed decisions.

Preventive measures, such as discussing the importance of making healthy choices and setting boundaries with regards to substance use, can contribute to a safer environment for teenagers.

Parents should also be vigilant in monitoring their child’s behavior and seek professional help if there are concerns about substance abuse. Timely intervention is crucial in addressing addiction and preventing long-term negative outcomes.

By addressing teen substance abuse concerns head-on, we can empower young individuals to lead healthier lives and make positive choices for their future.

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Consequences of Drug Use

Drug use can have severe consequences on both the individual and the community. Here are some of the potential impacts:

Consequences Description
1. Physical Health Issues Drug use can lead to various health problems, including cardiovascular issues, respiratory problems, impaired cognitive function, and increased risk of infectious diseases.
2. Mental Health Disorders Substance abuse is strongly linked to the development of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
3. Academic and Career Implications Drug use can significantly impact academic performance, leading to poor grades, decreased motivation, and limited educational and career opportunities.
4. Legal Issues Engaging in drug-related activities can result in legal consequences, including arrest, imprisonment, and a criminal record that can hinder future prospects.
5. Relationship Problems Drug abuse can strain relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners, leading to isolation, broken trust, and social difficulties.
6. Financial Burden Maintaining a drug habit can be financially draining, leading to financial instability, debt, and dependence on illegal activities to support the addiction.

Understanding these consequences is crucial in emphasizing the importance of avoiding substance abuse and seeking help when needed.


American teens are confronted with a myriad of concerns that deeply impact their well-being and development. The prevalence of mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression, continues to rise among teenagers. Substance abuse, academic and social pressures, cyberbullying, and exposure to violence in media also contribute to the complex landscape of teenage life.

Gender and socio-economic factors play a significant role in shaping teens’ concerns and aspirations. Girls face unique worries related to college admission, body image, and societal expectations, while boys tend to prioritize financial success. Additionally, teens from lower-income households often grapple with additional concerns surrounding their future prospects and community issues.

Addressing these concerns requires a collective effort from parents, educators, and society as a whole. It is essential to provide the necessary support, resources, and tools to help teens navigate these challenges. Open communication and awareness are imperative to ensure the mental well-being of teenagers, as well as to promote healthy coping mechanisms and positive behavior.

Furthermore, the impact of social media cannot be ignored. Cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate content, and potential mental health implications necessitate proactive measures to ensure online safety. Likewise, the presence of violence in media calls for a critical examination of its effects and the development of media literacy skills to guide responsible consumption.

By addressing concerns related to mental health, substance abuse, pressure, social media, and violence in media, we can create a safer and more supportive environment for teenagers. Together, let us empower this generation and foster their overall well-being and growth.


What are the top concerns for teens?

Teens’ top concerns include anxiety, depression, bullying, drug addiction, alcohol consumption, academic pressure, and social pressures.

How prevalent are anxiety and depression among American teens?

Around 7% of teens have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, while 12.8% have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Unfortunately, less than half of teens with major depression receive treatment.

What are the main pressures and stressors faced by teenagers?

Academics top the list of pressures teens face, with a focus on getting good grades. Other pressures include fitting in socially, looking good, being involved in extracurricular activities, and excelling in sports.

Do girls and boys have different concerns?

Yes, girls are more likely than boys to plan on attending a four-year college and express more worry about getting into their school of choice. Girls also feel more pressure to look good. Boys, on the other hand, prioritize having a lot of money in the future.

How do socio-economic factors affect teens’ concerns?

Teens from lower-income households express more concern about teen pregnancy, bullying, drug addiction, poverty, and gangs. They also worry more about affording college and helping their family financially.

What are the concerns related to social media?

Social media has become a major concern for teens, with issues like cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content. Research shows that social media can impact teens’ mental health and harm their friendships and relationships.

How does violence in media affect teens?

Exposure to violent media has been linked to a lack of empathy and aggressive behavior among teens. Parents should limit their teens’ exposure to violent content and have discussions about the dangers of violence.

What are the major concerns related to teen substance abuse?

Drug addiction and alcohol consumption are major concerns among teens, with marijuana use remaining high and vaping becoming increasingly popular. It is important to educate teens about the risks and have regular conversations about the dangers and consequences of substance abuse.

What are the main concerns for teens overall?

Overall, teens are concerned about their mental health, academic and social pressures, substance abuse, the impact of social media, and exposure to violence in media. It is crucial for parents, educators, and society to address these concerns and provide support and resources for teens.

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