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Top Three Issues Plaguing The Filipino Teen In 2017

The revered national hero Dr. Jose Rizal not only said good things about the Filipino youth: He honored generations of them with a poem. The most memorable lines say: “Your abounding talents show / Resplendently and grand / Fair hope of my Motherland!”

The youth is the fair hope of the Philippines, Rizal’s motherland. Our motherland.

And yet, it seems like a million and one things are keeping today’s youth from living out their fullest potential. We list the top three concerns today.

Excessive Social Media Use

The past five years have seen an explosion in how social media has sunk its roots deep into everyone’s respective psyches—from the barely postpubescent teen, and even up to those above 50, everyone seems to be glued to their phones and social media platforms of choice. While on first glance this seems harmless, the reality is that “Facebook depression” is already a researched and studied phenomenon, and the brunt of the impact seems to weigh heavily on teenagers.
Read More:
· Social media use damaging young people’s health, survey says
· Social Networking Among Teens Can Lead to ‘Facebook Depression’
· New Study Links Facebook To Depression: But Now We Actually Understand Why.
· Using Facebook actually makes you feel depressed, research says
· Is ‘Facebook Depression’ For Real?
· Facebook And Mortality: Why Your Incessant Joy Gives Me The Blues
· Exploring Facebook Depression
· Science Explains How Facebook Makes You Sad
· The Psychology of Facebook Depression: Avoid Social Comparisons & Envy

Suicide And Mental Health Issues

Mental illness is on the rise, and our current healthcare workforce is ill-equipped to handle it. Death due to self-harm is the third leading cause of preventable deaths worldwide, while it was discovered that in 2012, an estimated daily rate of 7 Filipinos chose the way out via suicide. With the hormonal changes and the “naturally psychotic” period that is the teens, it isn’t any wonder that they, the youth, are the most affected.

With the accessibility and rise of cyberbullying, as well, it is no wonder that many a Pinoy teen badly needs mental health support.
Read More:
· SPECIAL REPORT: Suicide and the Pinoy youth
· Seven Filipinos commit suicide every day
· Villanueva: Youth suicide in PH on the rise

Early Sexual Exposure

In recent HIV reports, it has been revealed that 62% of the rising cases are from the demographic of youth between 15 and 24 years old. As of the last quarter of 2016, it has been found that 26 new cases of HIV detection are being recorded, daily. Contrast that to the pace of newly-detected cases in previous years:

· 2008: 1 case per day
· 2010: 4 cases per day
· 2012: 9 cases per day
· 2014: 17 cases per day
· 2016: 26 cases per day

Whether we can attribute the rise in sexual activity to irresponsible media content, or to the very loose accessibility and zero controls of the internet is immaterial. The fact remains that the youth are getting into sex earlier, and are getting infected, faster.

More than HIV and AIDS, though, other sexually-transmitted diseases are gracing the sexual precocity of today’s Filipino teen. One of the less-notorious diseases is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection, which may lead to cervical cancer.

Teaching abstinence may be sensible, but adults, parents and policymakers have to be realistic: Hormones can rage, and self-control may be in dire shortage in this day and age. What adults can do is to teach the youth to be more responsible and arm them with the tools with which to protect themselves.
Read More:
· HIV in Philippines now a ‘youth epidemic’
· HIV Stat & Fact Sheet from the DOH
· Millennials face a new health challenge that is claiming 12 women every day

The Solution

As adults guiding the Filipino youth, we cannot stop them from making their choices, good or bad. Truth be told, the traditional Filipino manner of parenting, which is to keep the youth from making their own mistakes by nagging and copious amounts of verbal abuse only serve to do more harm than good. What the youth need is gentle guidance and sober information.

To know that the adults around them are for them, and not against them, is key for the youth to transition to responsible adulthood. To give them the freedom to make their own mistakes and learn from them, is also key to seeing them turn around and grow.

Most of all, to arm them with the information, the statistics, the solutions, is key to giving them the power to make the right choices.

Stop nagging. Be there for your teen. And when they cry for help, listen. Really listen. Because the teen in pain handled well today, may become a mover and shaker of tomorrow.

Inspired by: 1.2 Million Adolescent Deaths Mostly Preventable Each Year, New Study Says
Fact Sheet/WHO Report: Health Of Adolescents In The Philippines

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