Many of us have had that friend who, during adolescence, lied to his or her parents about where they were going to be on a Friday or Saturday night. Instead of being “at Maria’s house watching a movie” they were trying to get into a discotheque for adults. The tables seem to have turned: young people from the new generations prefer to make excuses for their friends to spend their free day nights at home. This seems to be a generational issue: in general the younger ones go out less partying. This is reflected in the data on nightlife activities.
According to a survey conducted by Berenberg Research in 2018, alcohol consumption decreases in younger generations. The trend began with the millennialsdefined by the Pew Research Center as “the first to come of age in the new millennium”. However, it is the members of generation Z (born 1997 onwards) who make the difference. At present, only 30.2% of young people around the age of 17-18 (in the final year of the baccalaureate) admit to consuming this type of drink, compared with 54% in 1991, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
It’s not just alcohol consumption. There is a decrease in the activities considered as adults among the adolescents of the generation. posmillennial. They also prefer not to drive and have less sex than generations before their age, reveals a study conducted by University of San Diego and Bryan Mawe College. In general, Generation Z members prefer to sit at home rather than go out on the street, this research points out. And the key to their entertainment? Social networks.
Express emotions through emojis
This greater tendency to “stay at home with technology,” explains Mercedes Bermejo, a child and family psychologist, director of Psychologists Pozuelo and member of the Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid (COPM). This makes “young people are failing to develop emotional competencies to relate to others,” says the expert, who adds that they seem to have lost interest in expressing their emotions or see how others are: “Now if you’re sad do not communicate, simply put a emoji with a little face.”
It is noted in the specialists’ consultations: “Indeed, there are more and more cases of adolescents with a tendency to isolation“, says the psychologist. “It’s what’s known as hikkomoria Japanese term that refers to young people who are disconnected from reality. They stop going out with their friends, doing sports and even going to school,” continues the expert, who indicates that in Spain “there are about 200 cases.
The problem is not that they do not consume alcohol – a habit that is harmful to their health – or have fewer sexual relations, but rather the consequences that this isolation entails for their mental health, clarifies Bermejo. And the data supports it: diseases such as depression are growing among the youngest. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 13% of adolescents between 12 and 17 years old admit to having had at least one depressive episode. in that year, compared to 8% in 2007.
A problem that goes beyond families
“It’s important that we all become aware of the gravity,” says Bermejo, who adds that this is a problem for the community as a whole and not just the families. Although it is the parents who can detect it: “When they see that their children spend more time in the virtual than in the real, when they do not enjoy normal relationships, when they begin to have hostile responses or begin to neglect their hygiene.
The solution goes through promote other types of behaviour from childhood. “If, for example, from an early age they play football or hockeyIf you’re a teenager, you’re more likely to continue to maintain relationships with other members of your team. Measures should also be taken to raise awareness, such as talks, conferences or seminars, parenting schools and leisure activities among young people. Otherwise, isolation can lead to future illnesses,” she concludes.