Is life for teenagers nowadays harder than before?

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It’s harder to be a teen now than it was in 1965—at least according to teenagers. That’s not in spite of the Internet and the iPhone. It’s because of all the technology that surrounds us.

“We have more responsibilities because of all the technology that we have,” says Sharon Bayantemur, a 17-year-old student at East Side Community High School in New York City. “People expect more from you because they know you have a cell phone and they can contact you and you have to pick up. Back then you didn’t really have that obligation.”

There’s also the anxiety of having the most experimental years of their lives documented online for all to see. They know that mistakes can live forever on the Internet. That mentality helps explain why they’re leading the adoption of a new wave of anonymous and private communications platforms, such as Snapchat, YikYak and GroupMe. None of them makes phone calls anymore, unless it’s an urgent matter. “I don’t even know how to check my voicemail,” says Lukas Castellanos, an 18-year-old at Briarwood who performs theater.

But the digital lifestyle can take its toll when it comes time for real-life interactions. “We have different portals that allow us to be more selfish,” says Kelsey Erstein, a 17-year-old at East Side who’s into rock climbing, “and we’re more accepting of it.”

What do you think? Is it harder being a teen today? Share your opinion.

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