ALCOHOL & DRUGS
Before: Alcohol and drugs have always been an issue. If it's not about its overabundance, it's the lack thereof. Many popular drugs were legal 'till the 1980's. Heroin, cocaine, and other dangerous drugs were easy and cheap to obtain. The drug's dangerous side effects were not common knowledge to most people, so it was widely used without thought. Alcohol flowed freely as it always has but it was kept from the teens most of the time.
Now: Not much has changed in the past few decades except for the fact that they are now more accessible and increasingly dangerous. Underage drinking and drug use are one of the biggest problems of society today. The party lifestyle of getting wasted and high are glamorized in TV shows and movies. Drinking and smoking marijuana are now the norm for teens. On a positive note, people are trying to convince the government to legalize certain drugs like marijuana due to its medicinal benefits and alcohol is being taxed higher in more countries. Society is trying to show that some drugs can actually have a good effect. Remember though that too much of a good thing can also be bad especially when you don't need it.
Before: People's virginities were valued. Most believed that it was a shame to have sex or do any intimate acts before marriage. It was considered indecent and immoral to fornicate. The media tried their best to limit the amount of sexual acts shown in TV, books, movies, and newspapers. The biggest issue was making sure that women most especially were pure before marriage. People valued who they would lose their virginities to. If you watched Doogie Howser, it always talked about sex but when the teenage doctor had a chance at it, he refused to do it because he believed that there had to be a certain maturity and readiness prior to having sex.
Now: Losing your virginity is now considered as a badge of honor. People now are more anxious to lose it due to what the media promotes. Men and women are now shamed for being virgins. Women are called prudes and men are called losers. Men are conditioned that it is close to impossible to find a virgin wife. Most TV shows today are not complete without a sex scene or two. The world today has become more liberated when it comes to sex. Some fear that society’s morals have become too loose. Video scandals of sexual acts are so easily circulated with the use of social media.
Before: Society was always rebelling against the government and their religions due to certain unequal precedents. Women were belittled and the freedom speech was not easily obtained. There were thousands of protests for women to obtain voting rights and for men and women to be able to speak their minds without fear of cruel punishments.
Now: One of the biggest issues today is women empowerment and gay rights. Though the situation on the equality of women's rights have improved immensely over the years, there are still countries where women are not allowed to have an education or vote or even show themselves. Such amazing women like Malala Yousafzai have fought greatly for there to be equality between men and women. Other prominent people in the celebrity industry have greatly supported gay rights. Many places all over the globe have legalized gay marriage and their adoption of children. Though it is still a long way to go before the LGBT community is widely accepted, they have started to gain due respect.
Before: Physical bullying was the most prominent form seen and is still seen today but not as often. Kids would go home with bloody cuts and bruises due to a bully's horrible acts. Anti-bullying campaigns were set but it took awhile before society actually took notice of the effects of bullying in society. Bullying is not just seen in schools but in neighborhoods as well. Domestic violence is one severe form of bullying which was and still is a large issue. Many kids were heavily beaten by mothers and fathers. Many victims did not know how to defend themselves from their tormentors.
Now: Bullying is now done in a more sophisticated form. Cyber bullying is a real issue teens face today. Tormentors now prey on the more vulnerable emotional aspects of people. They break people without even having to touch them. Young teens are easily victimized by cyber bullies whose identities don't even have to be revealed. The bully's use of the powerful tool of social media to ruin these people is downright terrifying. Someone's whole reputation can be ruined with a single video, photo, or post. Bullying has evolved scarily throughout the years and unfortunately has not been stopped.
With the evolution of these same social issues facing teens, several root causes can be attributed to the lack of self-esteem, identity and belongingness. Notably, a strong family and friendship support system is key to successfully transitioning teens to an emotionally stable adulthood without succumbing to these common social issues.
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