Insights Into Teens

Insights Into Teens: Episode 188 "Teen Isolation"

April 08, 2024 Madison and Joseph Whalen Season 6 Episode 188
Insights Into Teens: Episode 188 "Teen Isolation"
Insights Into Teens
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Insights Into Teens
Insights Into Teens: Episode 188 "Teen Isolation"
Apr 08, 2024 Season 6 Episode 188
Madison and Joseph Whalen

As the corridors of high school fall silent after the final bell, the hushed sound of solitude becomes the hidden chorus of adolescence. My co-host Madison Whalen and I navigate the silent storm of teenage isolation, probing the depths of self-imposed solitude and its profound effects on young minds and bodies. We unravel the tangled emotions behind the intense fear of social rejection, likening it to the sting of physical pain, and shine a light on the crucial role of parents in fostering healthy, real-world connections for their teens.

Adolescents today are treading the tightrope between digital comfort zones and the uncharted waters of in-person socialization. We reflect on our own post-pandemic social anxieties and the peculiar sense of crowd-induced claustrophobia. Madison and I dissect the allure and limitations of social media havens, and the delicate dance between nurturing online friendships and breaking out of their confines to expand social circles in the flesh.

In the final beats of our episode, we scrutinize the shifting dynamics of teenage social life in an increasingly digital world, leaning on insights from the Pew Research Center and a CNN study to highlight the decline of face-to-face interactions. We share personal anecdotes and ponder strategies to reel back from avoidance behavior that feeds isolation. Wrapping up, we steer you towards our various online platforms, where you can continue the conversation and dive into our extended podcast family, Insights into Entertainment and Insights Into Tomorrow. With a heartfelt goodbye, we invite you to explore our books and join us again as we seek to understand and aid the solitary hearts of today's youth.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As the corridors of high school fall silent after the final bell, the hushed sound of solitude becomes the hidden chorus of adolescence. My co-host Madison Whalen and I navigate the silent storm of teenage isolation, probing the depths of self-imposed solitude and its profound effects on young minds and bodies. We unravel the tangled emotions behind the intense fear of social rejection, likening it to the sting of physical pain, and shine a light on the crucial role of parents in fostering healthy, real-world connections for their teens.

Adolescents today are treading the tightrope between digital comfort zones and the uncharted waters of in-person socialization. We reflect on our own post-pandemic social anxieties and the peculiar sense of crowd-induced claustrophobia. Madison and I dissect the allure and limitations of social media havens, and the delicate dance between nurturing online friendships and breaking out of their confines to expand social circles in the flesh.

In the final beats of our episode, we scrutinize the shifting dynamics of teenage social life in an increasingly digital world, leaning on insights from the Pew Research Center and a CNN study to highlight the decline of face-to-face interactions. We share personal anecdotes and ponder strategies to reel back from avoidance behavior that feeds isolation. Wrapping up, we steer you towards our various online platforms, where you can continue the conversation and dive into our extended podcast family, Insights into Entertainment and Insights Into Tomorrow. With a heartfelt goodbye, we invite you to explore our books and join us again as we seek to understand and aid the solitary hearts of today's youth.

No Credits Rolled, where we play the games you love but rarely finish them!

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

An original podcast by a husband and wife team of self professed pop-culture geeks. It is a discussion about all things entertainment from movies and music to television and pop culture. We examine some of the more obscure aspects of the entertainment industry.

Create Harmony

This is a podcast about setting an intentional rhythm, savoring life’s blessings and...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Speaker 1:

Insightful Podcasts by Informative Hosts. Insights into Things a podcast network Podcast Network. Welcome to. Insights into Teens, a podcast series exploring the issues and challenges of today's youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison Whalen, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to Insights in a Teen. This is episode 188, Teen Isolation. I'm your host, Joseph Whalen, and my active and social co-host, Madison Whalen.

Speaker 3:

Hi everyone.

Speaker 2:

How are you doing today, Maddie?

Speaker 3:

I'm doing all right. How about you I?

Speaker 2:

can't complain really. I guess Nobody wants to listen even when I do complain, so it doesn't really matter Any exciting going on.

Speaker 3:

I mean, it's spring break, I guess.

Speaker 2:

Wow, you're so excited about spring break. Look at that.

Speaker 3:

I don't know. It's just a time for me to just relax because I have school and so forth.

Speaker 2:

Dripping with enthusiasm there. I appreciate that Yep always. Today we'll be delving into the topic that's incredibly relevant to the lives of teenagers and their parents teenage isolation. Adolescence is a time filled with various challenges and for many teens, the fear of social rejection looms large. In today's episode of Insights into Teens, we uncover valuable insights into understanding teenage isolation and explore how parents can play a crucial role in helping their teens navigate this challenging phase of their life.

Speaker 2:

Before we do that, though, I do want to bring attention to our show subscriptions. You can subscribe to this podcast listed as Insights into Teens, for just audio, or you can subscribe to Insights into Things, and that will give you access to all of our videos, audios for all of our shows, and we're available anywhere you get a podcast Apple, spotify, et cetera. I would also invite you to give us your feedback, tell us how we're doing, give us your suggestions for shows. You can email us at comments at insightsintothingscom, or check out links to all of our social media on our website at wwwinsightsintothingscom.

Speaker 2:

Shall we get going? Sure, here we go. So what is teen isolation? Adolescence, a transformative phase marked by numerous trials and transformations, brings with it an often overwhelming fear of social rejection that significantly shapes the lives of teenagers. Research reveals that teenage isolation, frequently instigated by the apprehension of rejection, has profound consequences for adolescents' physical and psychological well-being. The comprehensive understanding of the intricate dynamics of this phenomenon and the constructive ways in which parents can provide assistance is essential to address the multifaceted challenges that adolescents confront during this pivotal developmental stage.

Speaker 3:

The fear of social rejection and its ramifications. The fear of being socially rejected stands as an imposing concern for teenagers, perhaps ranking as one of the most formidable anxieties they grapple with. The potential for peers to withhold acceptance and approval can trigger an incapacitating fear, often resulting in self-imposed isolation. Notably, research conducted at the University of Michigan has revealed a striking similarity between the brain's response to social rejection and the perception of physical pain. This correlation underscores the emotional gravity of rejection and explains why a growing number of teenagers resort to isolation as a coping mechanism against potential emotional distress. Multiple factors, including traumatic social incidents, breakup, social anxiety and limited interpersonal skills, contribute to the self-imposed solitude intensifying its adverse outcomes.

Speaker 2:

The advent of modern technology, specifically the ubiquity of smartphones and social media platforms, presents a paradoxical influence on teenage isolation. While technology facilitates avenues of connection, it also poses a risk of diverting adolescents into isolation. The allure of virtual interactions, particularly through social media, can be insidious, potentially fostering an addictive relationship. This proclivity for digital interactions may further amplify teenage isolation, as adolescents allocate preference to online connections over physical ones, consequently impeding their interpersonal growth.

Speaker 3:

Parental Involvement and Fostering Support. In the landscape of teenage isolation, parents emerge as pivotal agents in extending vital guidance and support. Numerous parents recount their challenges in motivating their teenagers to participate in social activities, frequently facing resistance to disengage from digital screens. Testimonies from professionals in family dynamics underscore the complexity parents encounter in urging their adolescents to transcend the virtual realm. Nevertheless, parental intervention can serve as a divisive catalyst in disrupting the cycle of isolation.

Speaker 2:

As one might expect, teenage isolation frequently results in intensified feelings of loneliness. Empirical studies attest to the pervasiveness of loneliness among teenagers, peaking during the adolescent and young adult years. This paradox highlights how voluntary isolation cultivates a sense of loneliness, revealing the intricate psychological dynamics at play.

Speaker 3:

Physical and Psychological Ramifications. The repercussions of teenage isolation extend beyond emotional upheaval, infiltrating both psychological and physiological spheres. Adolescents ensnared in isolation are susceptible to an array of detrimental effects on their holistic well-being. Particularly noteworthy is the toll on mental health, with teenage isolation serving as a potential precursor to the onset of depression and avoidant personality traits. Physical well-being does not escape unscathed, as the stress induced by isolation can manifest in an assortment of physiological symptoms.

Speaker 2:

Teenage isolation manifests as a multifaceted quandary with profound consequences for the well-being of adolescents. The fear of social rejection, often instigated by traumatic experiences, social anxiety and reliance on technology, propels teenagers towards self-imposed isolation. The involvement of parents emerges as a linchpin in countering this trajectory, offering invaluable assistance and encouragement to foster healthy social interactions. The paradox of isolation and generating loneliness accentuates the necessity of addressing this matter holistically. Comprehension of the intricate interplay between teenage isolation, emotional welfare and parental influence is paramount for equipping adolescents with the tools to navigate the intricate challenges inherent in this pivotal phase of life. Navigate the intricate challenges inherent in this pivotal phase of life.

Speaker 2:

So that was a giant wall of text we just read through, with a lot of big words in there. So what does it all mean? Well, the bottom line is isolation is bad for you. It's bad for you physically, it's bad for you psychologically. That's just a really fancy way of kind of going into that and introducing some of the concepts of it. How do you think the fear of social rejection impacts teenagers in today's society, especially considering the influence of social media and digital interactions?

Speaker 3:

I feel like social media has actually made it a lot worse, because whenever anyone uses social media, for the most part they're posting like the best sides of themselves and they're not showing like any of the struggle that they're going through. Because I feel like there's something everybody has to struggle with. But when it comes to social media unless, like you feel comfortable doing it, you normally leave all your personal stuff out of it and you just say like oh, look at how cool my life is. Or like, look at how cool all this is. And trends obviously are much more common in social through social media, because it's such a wide platform and you can find out about trends immediately.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think you're right. I think a lot of people who use social media don't use it as a reflection of their life. They use it as a highlight reel and everyone looks at this and you know everybody thinks everything's wonderful and great and while you may have had four posts this week about going to the movies or hanging out with a friend or whatever fun stuff you did, none of the bad stuff is out there, None of the stuff where it's causing anxiety or trauma or fear or any of that stuff and, as a result, you get really an inaccurate picture of what that person's like.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and obviously along with that when it comes to the fear of social rejection. If you don't make your life seem that, if you don't think your life is as interesting as someone else online, or you don't follow the current trends, you're probably going to be left behind, even though you know trends happen for like a month and then they're completely discarded afterwards.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that's the other thing it's. You know I want to keep keeping up with the Jones, as a lot of people refer to it as like I want. You know, you have this exciting, interesting life and I want to be exciting and interesting like that. So I'm going to do a lot of that stuff. And and what people don't realize is a lot of that stuff is a double edged sword sometimes, and a lot of it is trendy. A lot of it's stuff that's a passing fad that people jump on the bandwagon with and get too involved with.

Speaker 3:

So, from your perspective, how do you think parents can strike a balance between encouraging teenagers to engage in social activities while respecting their desire for digital interactions as well?

Speaker 3:

Well, one thing is probably not to shame them for it or say get off the darn phone, or whatever, because that really doesn't help. You tell them not to do something, they're going to do it anyway. That's just, I'm pretty sure, a psychological thing that everybody is going to do. You tell me not to do something, I'm going to do it. You tell me to do something, I'm not going to do it. So, and like, I wouldn't say like, oh, continue to be on your phone, or whatever, because that's not going to work in that case either.

Speaker 3:

I know double standard when it comes to psychology, but that's it. It works different ways, but that's definitely one thing. Don't shame them for being on their phone all the time. Don't, like, say, oh, I don't like any of the people you talk to online, why don't you just go hang out with your friends? Don't tell them to just like oh, I don't know. Just don't make it about their generation and don't think that, oh, teenagers are the only ones doing this teen, it's only because you're a teenager. Um, basically, like, understand the purpose of why they're in the digital landscape to begin with, and maybe take the time to understand why they prefer that over regular life, and then also understand what do they like about real life that isn't entirely digital or maybe relates to something they find on technology and, you know, maybe find ways of encouraging them to take part in activities that ground them more in the real world rather than in the fiction based realm of technology and social media.

Speaker 2:

And that makes perfect sense. And I think one of the advantages that I think you get to enjoy is that both mommy and I grew up digitally connected. You know we grew up with computers. We grew up with, you know, various social media and stuff like that. So it's stuff that we've had experience with. I remember growing up where personal computers were brand new. In fact I built my first personal computer. You couldn't just go to the store and buy these things like you can today. So I was always kind of at that bleeding edge and for us, when I was your age, social media didn't exist. The closest thing, we didn't have the internet. At that point in time yeah, that's how old I am At the time we had what were called bulletin board services and you would dial your modem on your phone and connect to somebody else's computer modem on your phone and connect to somebody else's computer, and we didn't have live chat until you got into like AOL Messenger and stuff like that.

Speaker 2:

But there were forum posts, there were interactions on bulletin boards, there were online games that we would play. That was what the digital extension was for us and it was limited in its nature and that was a factor of the technology, obviously, but later on, when you get into MySpace and Facebook and Twitter and all that stuff, it's much more real time, it's much more in your face and it's much more artificially curated. And I think that's probably where my biggest concerns are these days. So in the BBS days you have what were called sysops or system operators, and they were kind of the police on the bulletin boards. If you were doing something mean or inappropriate or posting stuff you shouldn't be posting. There wasn't enough volume to require automation, so you have physically had someone looking at these things.

Speaker 2:

But nowadays there's so much interaction, there's so much exchange that happens that it's not humanly possible to have someone look at these. So, as a result, we're reliant on you hear him talk about the algorithms all the time, and the algorithms themselves are in place not to police the forums or police the social media. They're in place to make these companies money, and a lot of times the desire for profit outweighs the need for safety and security of the users, and that comes through very clearly when it comes to the algorithm-based processes. So that's one of the problems that you're running into now is as a result of that, most of your social media is nothing but cesspools at this point in time. So I totally understand parents who are concerned that their kids are interacting with stuff like that. Physical and psychological ramifications of teen isolations we discussed. How do you think schools and communities can better support teenagers who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation?

Speaker 3:

Well, it's definitely not through, like the phrases of saying like oh, we're all friends here or whatever. It's like no, that that's not going to help anybody. Like there are people that just don't mesh well together, so you can't force everybody to be friends. And I mean like I wouldn't say like advertising clubs, because there are just some kids that just won't join clubs, no matter what. I guess just having some teachers or like counselors to be more engaged with certain kids that might be on the radar of like okay, we're not really sure, cause like this kid could just comes into my class they're a good kid, but like they don't talk to anybody. They rarely ever talk to me. They kind of just go in and do the work and then leave and I haven't heard much else from them Otherwise. Like maybe take that into account and try to, you know, engage with them a little more.

Speaker 2:

Okay, that makes sense. That's kind of a it's a almost a passive way of trying to to encourage kids to be more traditionally interactive. I guess at that point in time Do you find that you fall into any of these traps? Do you feel like you're overly isolated? Do you feel you'd like to open up more? I know you're not a big social media person, so we can't blame any isolation on that. So are you, do you consider yourself isolated? Let me ask you that first, probably honestly Okay, and based on that, is it self imposed or is it outside forces that result in that?

Speaker 3:

It's more self imposed than anything else.

Speaker 2:

And do you know why?

Speaker 3:

I don't really. I guess like I don't like being around people, like I have friends that I obviously enjoy being around, but like if I'm around too many friends for too long of a time, I genuinely feel drained and I just there are just days that and I've gotten. That's what I was looking forward to with spring break. It's like, after everything that happened at the end of the marking period, I'm like I just want to go home and be left alone.

Speaker 3:

I don't want to be near anybody, because even just being in a room filled with people, even if none of them are interacting with me, fills me with anxiety, because I'm not claustrophobic. I've literally sat in a closet before and felt completely fine. But if I'm in, for example, our gym, whenever we were inside and we were doing gym and some of the other classes entered, I always felt claustrophobic. Even if it was a giant space and technically we could fit more people in there and it wouldn't be crowded. But because there were already so many people there they were all much closer than I would have expected, because it's a big, open area I was feeling claustrophobic.

Speaker 2:

All right, so that's a very interesting point. Let me kind of expound on that by asking have you felt that way since COVID? Or does this have nothing to do with the isolation we went through during COVID? Or does this have nothing to do with the isolation we went through during COVID?

Speaker 3:

I feel like it probably does have something to do with COVID. I know that I still. I mean I was just expanding my social circle a little more when I was in seventh grade when COVID ended up happening. I wouldn't really say I was incredibly social because I still didn't join any clubs at that point and technically I never really had the chance, but I also never looked. And then COVID happened and then I pretty much missed the rest of middle school, socially at the very least. And then high school rolled around and then I kind of just didn't. I mean I still made friends. In fact, some of the friends I've made in high school I didn't really know until I was in high school. So I've still been making friends. It's just I found I don't really I I think my social anxiety has kind of gone up because of covid, but it hasn't gone like down at all right and that makes sense I mean covid, I think, had that effect on a lot of us.

Speaker 2:

I feel the same way, like we were. Where were we at? Well, we were at a show this weekend and mommy and I went to the show and there was one room that was packed with people. There was one room and you've seen the rooms yeah, there's a new gym and an old gym at this high school and they're roughly the same size room and the other room didn't have as many in there and I could literally feel like it was hard to breathe in a room, like there wasn't any problem with the air there. You know, there wasn't some outbreak, the doors were wide open, but just that sense of the world's closing in on me, with so many people around me. I get that feeling and I attributed that to COVID more than anything else.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So, all right, well, let's take a quick break, and when we come back and we'll talk about technology and teen isolation, we'll see if that has any effect on you as well. We will be right back.

Speaker 1:

Insights into entertainment, a podcast series series taking a deeper look into entertainment and media. Our husband and wife team of pop culture fanatics are exploring all things, from music and movies to television and fandom. We'll look at the interesting and obscure entertainment news of the week. We'll talk about theme park and pop culture news. We'll give you the latest and greatest on pop culture conventions. We'll give you a deep dive into Disney, star Wars and much more. Check out our video episodes at youtubecom backslash insights into things, our audio episodes at podcastinsightsintoentertainmentcom, or check us out on the web at insightsintothingscom.

Speaker 3:

Welcome back to Insights into Teens. Today we're talking about teen isolation, and now we're going to talk about the impact technology has on such a subject. In an era characterized by technological advancements and digital connectivity, the role of social media in shaping various aspects of modern life cannot be understated. Among its notable impacts is its influence on the social behaviors of teenagers, a demographic particularly susceptible to its allure, a shift in how adolescents interact with their peers, altering the dynamics of real-world relationships and, in some cases, leading to a sense of withdrawal and isolation.

Speaker 2:

So let's talk virtual connections versus real-life connections. Proliferation of social media platforms has introduced a novel dimension to interpersonal communication. Adolescents in particular are drawn to these platforms as a means of interaction, often preferring virtual exchanges over face-to-face conversations. For socially awkward teenagers, the digital realm offers a safe haven for the potential discomfort of direct interactions. The comfort of their bedrooms becomes a conduit for relating the peers through texts, comments and shares on platforms like Facebook. This virtual interface creates a sense of security that may not be present in physical encounters.

Speaker 3:

Research conducted by the Pew Research Center provides insight into the changing landscape of teenage social interactions. A mere 25% of teenagers reportedly spent time with friends outside of school on a daily basis. This statistic underscores a substantial shift from past generations, where in-person interactions were the norm. The prevalence of online connections seems to be shaping a new norm for social engagement among adolescents.

Speaker 2:

Sort of the pitfalls of isolation. Experts highlight the adverse consequences of this technological shift. Highlight the adverse consequences of this technological shift. They observed that many teenagers find solace in their rooms, engaging in endless texting that almost got dirty real quick there Snapchatting and app-based interactions. While these virtual exchanges may give the illusion of connection, they can exacerbate the fear of missing out or FOMO we've talked about on the podcast before. This creates a paradox wherein the constant stream of digital interactions intensifies feelings of loneliness. The absence of face-to-face interactions further accentuates the isolation experienced by teenagers further accentuates the isolation experienced by teenagers.

Speaker 3:

The frequency of teenagers' engagement with social media platforms is becoming increasingly recognized as a potential factor in their emotional well-being. So many big words, it's hard to speak. A recent CNN study delved into the relationship between 13 year olds and their social media usage. The findings revealed a noteworthy correlation between the frequency of checking networking sites and emotional distress. Participants who check platforms like facebook between 50 and 100 times a day experienced a 37 increase in distress compared to those who engaged more infrequently. Those who checked over 100 times a day exhibited an even higher increase of 47%.

Speaker 2:

I'm on the same page as you. Apparently, the integration of technology and social media into the lives of teenagers has redefined their social interactions and, in some cases, led to a sense of isolation. The allure of virtual connections can become a refuge for those who find face-to-face interactions daunting. However, this shift has also unintended consequences, magnifying feelings of loneliness and FOMO, as the frequency of social media use correlates with emotional distress. It's essential to recognize the complex interplay between digital engagement and adolescent well-being. Addressing this issue involves striking a balance between digital interactions and meaningful face-to-face connections, acknowledging the evolving landscape of teenage relationships in the digital age. So how much of a user are you of digital communication? I know you text. I know you email. Do you find that that's your preferred way of getting in touch with your friends, or are you more likely to pick up the phone and have a conversation with them?

Speaker 3:

I mean, I can talk to my friends through calls, but it honestly rarely happens. At this point. I used to have nightly chats with my one friend and then we kind of stopped them because we really would just be on the phone for an hour and like not talk to each other.

Speaker 2:

So you run out of stuff to talk about at some point, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So how do you feel or how do you perceive the balance between your online interactions through social media and your offline, face-to-face interactions with your friends? Do you feel like one type of interaction is more fulfilling or meaningful than the other and, if so, why?

Speaker 3:

That's the thing. I technically have more interaction with my friends in face-to-face than I really do online anymore. Like, occasionally I'll text my my friends will text me and I'll text back and then we have a conversation. My my friends will text me and I'll text back and then we have a conversation Sometimes. It usually would result in us hanging out outside of school or we just hang out at school if we have the same class or whatever. I don't really know the best answer for it because, like when I do text with my friends on a, I don't really know because, like when I text my friends, it's like, yeah, I'm interacting with them and I understand it, and like we do have like our own jokes when we text and I have noticed that like we don't, we aren't able to really tell sarcasm apart. So I can understand that being like a deterrent, but like when it's also face to face, I don't know if fulfillment is really the word I describe.

Speaker 2:

OK, I see that we're going to take our last break and when we come back we'll talk about isolation and avoidance behavior.

Speaker 4:

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Speaker 3:

Welcome back to Insights into Teens, where we're talking about teen isolation. And now we're going to talk about the difference between teen isolation or teen avoidance behavior. And you know if there is one? Teen isolation often manifests as a form of avoidance behavior in adolescents. This behavior, also known as avoidance coping, involves actions aimed at evading specific thoughts or emotions. Okay, sorry, just felt called out there for a moment. Give me a minute. Avoidance behaviors encompasses steering clear of places, scenarios or thoughts that trigger discomfort or distress. These behaviors can take various forms. Among teens, they may involve outright refusal to engage in certain activities or conversations. Social situations, including challenging discussions, might be intentionally avoided. Additionally, some teenagers might strive to minimize leaving their homes, leading to self-imposed isolation from both peers and the broader society. In this way, teenage isolation emerges as a consequence of avoidance behaviors, reflecting the complex interplay between emotional response and social interaction.

Speaker 2:

So how do we combat teenage isolation? Teenage isolation has become an increasingly prevalent concern in today's digital age, often exacerbated by the allure of technology and virtual connections. To address these issues or this issue, and promote healthy mental well-being, parents play a pivotal role in guiding their teenagers toward real-world interactions and experiences. Here's five effective strategies that parents can employ to help teenagers overcome isolation, improve mental health and establish meaningful connections, and I think you're going to find a lot of these are very similar to the techniques that we've talked about over and over again on how to improve emotional well-being. The first is to embrace nature's healing power.

Speaker 2:

Engaging with the natural world offers a potent remedy against isolation-induced stress and anxiety. Research has consistently demonstrated that spending time outdoors positively impacts mood and the nervous system. In particular, outdoor activities can lower cortisol levels, reducing stress, encourage teenagers to partake in activities like hiking, swimming or simply strolling through a park or, in your case, walking around the block, you know, getting out and just getting some fresh air. By incorporating these activities into their routine, teens can experience a tangible improvement in their mental state.

Speaker 3:

The next is to instill the joy of volunteering. Volunteering not only benefits others, but also significantly enhances one's mental well-being. Adolescents can find a sense of purpose and fulfillment by contributing to their community, tailor volunteering opportunities to their interest. For instance, animal-loving teens can volunteer at shelters or stables, while those inclined towards younger children can participate in camps or community centers. By engaging in these activities, teenagers not only combat isolation, but also derive pleasure from making a positive impact.

Speaker 2:

Prioritize physical activity. Physical exercise is a cornerstone to improve mental health among teenagers. Activities like dance, yoga and hiking offer not only the benefits of physical fitness, but also aid in managing stress and anxiety. High school sports provide an avenue for both exercise and building positive relationships, although alternative options are crucial for teens who find team sports overwhelming. Not that you're being called out again there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

By selecting activities that resonate with their preferences, adolescents can enjoy the dual advantages of enhanced mental and physical well-being.

Speaker 3:

Disconnect to Reconnect. Technology often serves as a crutch for isolated teenagers, enabling them to avoid direct social interactions. To address this, it's vital for parents to regulate screen time. Vital for parents to regulate screen time. Establishing specific times for disconnecting from the digital world, such as turning off internet access in the evenings, fosters a conductive environment for face-to Conducive. Okay, whatever.

Speaker 2:

We're not trying to conduct electricity to you here. You play too long.

Speaker 3:

Fosters a conducive environment for face-to-face communication. Promoting device-free family meals also nurtures authentic connections and encourages open conversations.

Speaker 2:

Forge authentic connections through communication. A cornerstone of mitigating teenage isolation lies in nurturing genuine connections between parents and teenagers. Ongoing, meaningful conversations offer a platform for adolescents to share their thoughts and feelings with their parents. This level of communication plays a pivotal role in reducing feelings of loneliness and enhancing teenagers' sense of support and optimism. Encouraging teenagers to openly discuss their emotions fosters an atmosphere of understanding and empathy within the family.

Speaker 3:

In an era where technology can inadvertently drive teenagers to isolate themselves, parents have the opportunity to guide their adolescents toward healthier behaviors and relationships, Empower teenagers to overcome isolation, enhance their mental well-being and forge meaningful connections. By actively implementing these approaches, parents can play an essential role in equipping teenagers with the tools they need to navigate the challenges of their formative years and cultivate a positive outlook on life.

Speaker 2:

So I wouldn't describe mommy and daddy's policy of screen time as being heavy handed. We don't really tell you what you can do when you can do it, anything like that. Do you think our approach is preferable? Do you think it might be a little too loose and free-handed for your own benefit?

Speaker 3:

Honestly, I kind of think it's preferable. I don't know if I'm biased on that, because I do appreciate my screen time. It's not that I don't socialize with you guys, I do.

Speaker 1:

Oh, absolutely you do.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we obviously have our own things that we do together. We have instances where we hang out and we always have our family meals and so forth. I think that if you were to really restrict me, I think like I don't know, like I could understand why you would want to do it, but the teenager in me would probably not really appreciate that.

Speaker 2:

So, for the most part, you self-regulate, and and for a lot of things you self-regulate we're not only about what time you go to bed or when you do your chores, or or any of that stuff. Is that freedom something that you find helpful to you, or do you think more guidance might be more beneficial to you?

Speaker 3:

I mean, I appreciate the freedom that I am given.

Speaker 3:

Sure, I don't really take other freedoms that I probably should, like driving, which, like you know, maybe, if you maybe encouraging me to take on more freedoms would probably be beneficial, because the freedoms that I do take on are beneficial in the sense of, like I get my chores. Like the thing is, if you were to like regulate my chores, it would be very annoying, like how you used to be like, oh, laundry misses you, like that makes me not want to do laundry. That makes me be like, ok, well, now I'm not doing it. Like that makes me not want to do laundry. That makes me be like, ok, well, now, I'm not doing it. So if you were to regulate the freedoms I have now, I probably wouldn't want to take advantage of those freedoms and instead of regulating other freedoms that I have or, you know, trying to force me into taking on the other freedoms, I guess just a little more encouragement for other freedoms I don't take yet would would be helpful. Like encouraging me to go to prom, but not forcing me to go to prom.

Speaker 2:

Right, well, and you see, it's just a clear example that old dogs can learn new tricks. You know, I learned that my motivational techniques were less than motivational, yep. So can you think of any instances in your own life or among your friends where avoidance behavior might have contributed to feelings of isolation?

Speaker 3:

Well, I did mention. I feel I felt called out at that moment. So I mean, yeah, my whole thing of how I deal with hard emotions is I avoid everybody, and it's been like that for years, because if I didn't avoid people, I would lash out at people and I would take out all my emotions on them, which obviously is not fair to other people. So in order to stop that, I would find things that I liked and I would simply just avoid other people if I was ever feeling angry. And you know, eventually I got the emotional control to control my emotions until I was able to avoid it, kind of, I guess.

Speaker 2:

Do you feel that you're isolated?

Speaker 3:

Kind of not really'm I feel fine with it. I don't like have I don't know if it contributes to my low self-esteem or not, but it's like I, I have friends. I I obviously have friends, I have loving parents. It's like I do have a social circle, but I don't like engaging with them often. Like it's just I feel drained whenever I have to socially interact with some people and like obviously there are instances where I don't feel drained and I can feel refreshed, and maybe it's just because I'm not the type of person to really enjoy social interaction and I'm not the type of person that really is able to get much out of it. Obviously, you know there's scientific benefits to it that I could point to, but personally I just never really feel the most comfortable with it and really, if I was to say that I'm isolated which you know technically I am I wouldn't really say I am having much of an issue with it. Like, I don't know, I'm kind of fine with it.

Speaker 2:

Well, and you know I have to kind of point the finger at myself for some of that influence of the isolation, because I'm very much the same way. I don't have a problem talking to people, I can go out and I can have a conversation with anyone. I can get along with anybody talking to people. I can go out and I can have a conversation with anyone. I can get along with anybody. I just choose not to because I find it emotionally draining most times. We've talked in the past before about some of the issues that I have with hearing in large crowds, so that's one of the reasons I'm turned off from large crowds.

Speaker 2:

But I'm also the type of person who relishes his personal time and, more importantly, I relish my family time. It's almost like a greed, like an emotional greed to me, like I don't want to share that time with other people. I don't want to share the family with other people because it's time that's precious to me and I don't want to sacrifice that. And I think some of that probably has rubbed off on you. Certainly you don't get it from your mother.

Speaker 2:

Your mother is a social butterfly. She could have a conversation with a complete stranger at the grocery store she does frequently actually, and my mother used to be the same way and and I do too, because there are some instances where people come up and strike up a conversation with me or we were sitting at breakfast the one day and the guy was commenting on my shoes because I had a new pair of shoes, or something like that it's like like I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't go up to someone and do that unless it was you know, I don't know something that was alarming or a danger or something like that. So I blame myself for a lot of that isolation that you tend to embrace. And that's really what you do you self-isolate, but you embrace that isolation and you'll interact with people, but you heavily regulate your interactions with other people, even people you get along with. Is that because of a lack of tolerance that you have, or is that something else other than the obvious things that we've talked about that make you want to isolate?

Speaker 3:

Well, I mean, when it comes to my friends and like, I usually only hang out with like one friend at a time. But there are instances where like, oh, it's like an extended weekend and I hang out with one friend one day and another friend the other day, and I become so socially drained after that second interaction I don't want to talk to anyone and I ended up whenever and mom is usually home at that point and I just tell her hey, I don't feel great, please, like I need to be left alone for like an extended period of time. She understands perfectly and she's like OK, no problem, and until dinner I'm alone the rest of the day.

Speaker 2:

Right Now. Do you think the level of isolation that you impose on yourself, do you think it's a healthy level, or do you think it's something that you probably need to work on, or are you okay with where you're at right now?

Speaker 3:

I'm honestly okay with where I'm at. I'm honestly okay with where I'm at. I do socialize and I do have friends more than I've expected honestly.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, I have friends, I have a social circle. Most of my imposed isolation is kind of just to cope with my own mental issues, and sometimes I might bring it on my friends. Other times I really just use it as a way to make myself feel better. So, and you know what I think, ultimately it boils down to whether or not you're happy, and if you're happy with the way that you're set up now, then chances are you're probably okay, cause I don't think the isolation that you impose on yourself is unhealthy in any way.

Speaker 2:

It's not like you can't walk out of the house. I mean, there are people who literally can't even walk out of their house and they restrict themselves like prisoners to their homes. You're not like that. And there are situations where if you need to be social, if you need to interact with people, you can do that and you're capable of doing that, and it's not like you've got any kind of issue with it. It just drains you and it drains me too, and that's that's kind of one of the reasons why I'm I'm not big on it, because I just find it like today.

Speaker 2:

You know, I had all kinds of meetings today because we were trying to wrap some stuff up and I was just emotionally drained, mentally drained, from having to interact with people like that, cause there's a certain part of you that you can never really relax. I mean, in certain circles you can, but you can never really relax and you're always part of you, is always on guard when you're interacting with other people, because nobody wants to be completely open and vulnerable and stuff like that. So sometimes that putting that guard up and being emotionally defensive for your own good can sometimes be very draining as well. So I think that's all we had today. We're going to take a quick break and come back and get your closing thoughts and then finish up with the business of the podcast. We'll be right back.

Speaker 3:

So I just want to say to everyone out there that teen isolation is definitely something that is incredibly prevalent, but it's something that can also have a variety of reasons as to why it occurs. I myself experienced it for many different reasons. I know that social media was one of the biggest ones that we talked about, but clearly that is not really something that works. That why it happens with me. It may be what happens with other people, but it happens for a ton of different reasons, and it can obviously go into both healthy and unhealthy territory. And when it does go into both healthy and unhealthy territory, and when it does get into that unhealthy territory, much like everything it's definitely best to try to break out of the habit.

Speaker 2:

Excellent, excellent, sage words of advice, as always. Before we go, though, I want to take one more chance to invite everyone to subscribe, if you don't already do so, to the podcast. You can find audio versions of this podcast listed as insights into teens, and you can find audio and video versions of this podcast and all the networks podcasts listed as insights into things. We're available anywhere you can get a podcast. I would encourage you to email us and give us your feedback. You can email us at comments at insightsintothingscom.

Speaker 2:

We are on X, formerly known as Twitter, at insights underscore things. You can also get high-res videos of all of our episodes on YouTube at youtubecom slash insightsintothings. We do stream five days a week on Twitch at twitchtv slash insights into things, and you can find us on Facebook at facebookcom slash insights into things podcast, or you can find links to all those and more on our official website at wwwinsightsintothingscom, and you and don't forget to check out our other two podcasts Insights and Entertainment, normally hosted by you and Mommy, and Insights Into Tomorrow, normally hosted by you and my brother Sam.

Speaker 2:

That's it, nothing but inner books.

Speaker 3:

Bye everyone, Thank you.

(Cont.) Insights Into Teens: Episode 188 "Teen Isolation"