How does the coronavirus pandemic affect the social life of teenagers?


The coronavirus pandemic has affected not only people’s health but also their social life. Especially, it has affected young people and adolescents, as they begin to feel more frustration in the context of their lives. Specialists explain how damaging social isolation and virtual classes have been for this population.

Adolescence is a stage in life in which different changes and discoveries are lived, that is, groups of friends appear, games in the neighborhood, and spend the evenings in the cinema with their schoolmates. Also, it is a stage where the first love affairs and strengthening of ties that would last a lifetime occur. Similarly, it happens with young people, because it is difficult to maintain social relationships only through networks.

Unfortunately, the common activities that this population could do had to be left in the background, opening group work in Zoom, celebrating birthdays by Google Meets, and feeling the proximity of a kiss through video calls. This coronavirus crisis has completely changed its normality, turning it into a virtual reality that they would never have imagined.

Yuri Cutipé, director of Mental Health at the Health Ministry, points out that there are three basic needs that adolescents require to reaffirm their identity: respect for their intimate space, respect for their peers (friends), and respect for their aspirations or abilities.

Therefore, the drastic change brought about by the sanitary measures of compulsory social isolation and virtual classes mentally affects this group of people to a greater extent, because they are in the socialization stage.

According to the specialist Cutipé, these had a positive perception of isolation during the first two months of quarantine. However, as of the third month, conflicts began to appear due to the lack of their peers or, as in other cases, due to the self-locking dedicated to video games and annoying parents. Problems also begin to carry out the tasks, since sometimes the parents are not at home and cannot find support to complete them.

But, without a doubt, specialists agree that one of the main factors in the frustration of adolescents and young people during the pandemic has been being away from their partner. This is producing anxiety situations, which creates bad moods, as well as confinement in their rooms and even depression.

Although there are still no studies of how the pandemic is affecting this group of people, Cutipé pointed out that by observing cases, it can be concluded that this population is «very vulnerable» to psychological symptoms that can worsen if there is no correct act of parents or guardians.

The recommendation that the specialist gives to the parents is that they take into account two criteria when establishing a relationship with their children during the crisis: organization and affection. While he recommended to young people to organize their activities and keep busy until the storm passes and allow us to visit loved ones again.

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