THE UK’s young people admit to feeling “stressed” for almost five hours a day, according to a new report published for National Anti-Bullying Week.
It revealed that 12-18-year olds are exposed to a number of worries and fears on a daily basis, including having too much homework, potentially being laughed at for what they are wearing and ‘just not fitting in’.
Additional worries include having to stand up in front of the class and talk, missing a homework deadline and having spots.
The number one worry for this age group, however, is the pressure of whether they will pass their exams or not at the end of the year.
Social media only adds to the stress and anxiety of their day, and more than one in 10 teens are worried about whether they’re being left out of group messages on WhatsApp or Facebook.
A spokesman for the Sea Cadets, which commissioned the study to highlight the issues young people face and how they can get support, said: “There will be millions of people out there who can sympathise with the stresses and worries that teenagers face.
“Whether it’s bullying, their education or even both, it’s enough to make a young adult feel isolated at school. The challenges teenagers face are endless – and twice as tough for youngsters at a time in their lives when they’re still working out who they are and what they can be.
“What they really need to realise is that they’re not alone. Many people will have already faced these worries and there will be others who are going through the same thing.
“But despite this, talking to teachers, friends and family is the most important thing to do – a problem shared is a problem halved.”
And being a Sea Cadet can help you with that. This national charity works with 14,000 young people each week in 400 UK towns, building confidence through challenge and a safe environment where young people can work out who they are.
Other things stressing young adults out were their shape and size, not having a boyfriend or girlfriend and ‘not being clever’.
Having to queues up for lunch near older students has many worried throughout the day as does having the most ‘up-to-date’ mobile phone.
The research revealed six in 10 teens are still feeling the stress and worry right through the evening when they’re supposed to be relaxing at home.
They’ll have at least one bad night’s sleep a week and one in five doesn’t talk to their family to try and help out.
During a typical day, teens will get stressed or worried about four different things so by the time the weekend comes, a third will be feeling relieved while four in 10 will be feeling excited.
But a further one in five will be happy, but already dreading Monday coming along.
Thirty one per cent of teens said that if they’re having a hard day, they don’t feel they could talk to their teachers and only seven per cent felt they could ‘always’ talk to them.
In fact, four in 10 teens agreed that they wished their teachers did more to stop or prevent bullying at their school.
And 30 per cent said they wished their teachers were less ‘scary’.
Worryingly, one in 10 don’t believe they ‘belong’ at their school or college and more than half have admitted to lying about something important to try and fit in with their peers.
Another stress many teens are facing is their future career and education, in fact they’ll think about is four times every week.
The spokesman added: “It’s sad to see that many teens are worried about approaching their teachers when they’re feeling stressed or worried.
“Cadets tell us that taking part in their local unit, gives them a sense of security and many describe it like a second family where they find positive role models and get support from trained volunteers.
“The team work and confidence cadets build through Sea Cadets can help them harness the challenges they face now to help them better navigate whatever the future holds.”
Anti-Bullying Week in NI is coordinated by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum and runs from November 16-20. For more information log onto www.endbullying.org.uk.
Top 30 most common stresses for teens:
1. Passing exams
2. Having too much homework
3. Missing a homework deadline
4. Having to stand up in front of my class and talk
5. Being asked to answer a question by a teacher and not knowing the answer
6. Just not fitting in
7. Potentially being laughed at for what I’m wearing
8. Having spots
9. Their shape / size
10. Whether I’m going to get in to trouble
11. Being bullied
12. Losing a valuable item
13. Not having a boyfriend / girlfriend
14. Spelling tests
15. Being left out of a group conversation on WhatsApp or social media
16. Having the most up-to-date phone
17. Not being clever
18. Not being good at sports
19. Not being invited to a party/concert /gig
20. Having to queue up for lunch near older students
21. Not having the same curfew as their friends
22. Potentially being laughed at for their hair cut
23. How long it takes for someone to reply to a text or similar
24. When parents’ evening looms
25. Secrets ‘ getting out’ at school
26. Being peer pressured into smoking, drinking and/or taking drugs
27. Being the shortest in the class
28. Having to wear glasses
29. Someone picking on you over social media
30. Being the tallest in the class.
The Sea Cadets is a national youth charity working with 14,000 young people in 400 communities, 45% of which are in economically challenged areas.
The charity offers a progressive training programme in a structured environment and gives young people the chance to challenge themselves through a range of nautical activities.
In the longer term the charity aims to have a positive impact on young people’s life chances through the activities it offers and the sense of identity being part of the Sea Cadets fosters.
This includes: improving attendance and achievement in school, supporting post 16 destinations in employment and further education, enhancing long term well-being, contributing to a reduction of risky behaviours and increasing participation in communities.
To find out more about the Sea Cadets log onto www.sea-cadets.org
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