The War on Boys and Girls

May 2023

   Over the years, a cause for teen angst, suicide, etc., has reportedly been the media. But there is no definitive evidence to corroborate that. In fact, every recent generation has traditionally pointed to the media or some other cultural factor as damaging to youth. In the 1920s, it was the Charleston, and in the 1940s, the bogeyman was radio crime dramas. Then in the 1950s, it was shoot-’em-up westerns on TV and the advent of rock ‘n roll. But at the end of the day, most kids grew up normally.

   These days, cell phones and social media are supposedly culpable, but scientists still don’t know to what extent they are responsible for the rising mental health issues among teenagers and whether it is the primary cause. Alexey Makarin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, opines, “It seems to be the case — like it’s a big factor, but that’s still up for debate.”

   What do we know?  A report from the CDC in February found that teen girls are experiencing “record high levels of violence, sadness, and suicide risk.” The data show that 57 percent of U.S. teen girls felt “persistently sad or hopeless in 2021 — double that of boys, representing a nearly 60% increase and the highest level reported over the past decade.” About 30 percent had seriously attempted suicide. These numbers are dra ...

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