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Are teens overworked

Head to Head opinions article

Teens are overworked

Teens are overworked in many ways, especially in a high school setting. We are told to join in and get involved but how are we supposed to balance that with schoolwork and stuff going on at home? For many teens, high school is the most stressful because of the pressure to have your whole life plan figured out by the time you are 17 or 18 but people forget that this is one of the most important developmental stages in someone’s life. 

Overworking teens can cause many things like stress, anxiety, and even depression that just sit on top of everything else making it even harder to be productive and complete work. 

According to the American Psychological Association (APA),

31 percent of kids say they feel overwhelmed

— American Psychological Association

and 30 percent say they feel depressed because of stress. 

Many teens participate not only in school but school sports as well. Teens are also expected to get a job to make money for themselves and juggle any extracurriculars they might be interested in as well. Not only can this stress cause some mental health effects but also some physical ones. Nearly one-quarter of teens report skipping a meal due to stress according to the APA. Sleep is affected too, with 36 percent of teens reporting feeling tired and not getting enough sleep.

Teens are not overworked

One common complaint from teenagers in this age is that they don’t have enough time. They have too much homework, they’re busy with sports, they don’t have time to see their friends, and so on. But what if we actually do have enough time? What if 24 hours a day is plenty even with 6 or 7 hours of school? 

A 2022 survey from the Common Sense Census found that the average screen time for teens in the United States was 8 hours and 39 minutes. Although that includes all screens it’s still a daunting number. Assuming that students at school spend half the day on a screen doing work we end up with roughly 3 and a half hours. That still leaves 5 hours of screen time outside of school every day. What could you do with a 29-hour day? Or what about a 24-hour day with less screen time? 

I asked some Southwest students to find out their thoughts. Elizabeth Kerfoot (‘24) said that she felt overwhelmed between school, work, athletics, family obligations, and college applications. She averaged 6 hours a day on their phone. What could you get done with 6 extra hours? Scratch that, in our digital age it feels impossible not to be connected every minute. So what about just cutting screen time in half? Three extra hours. Kerfoot replied that she would be able to complete schoolwork, sleep more, and feel more relaxed with 3 extra hours every day. 

Henry Paton (’25) said that when he has to manage school, a job, and athletics all at once he feels overwhelmed, but not when he only has to manage two at a time. Paton also averaged 5 hours a day just on his phone. Feeling like you’re not overwhelmed with 5 hours on your phone every day seems like plenty of free time. 

If someone says that they are overworked but spends that amount of time glued to their phone the issue is not a lack of time but rather an issue with time management.

— Sam Scott

Although life can get pretty busy, especially as a high school student trying to juggle athletics, a job, any future plans, and trying to spend quality time with people in your life. Studies and surveys are showing that teenagers are spending an increasing amount of time on screens and their phones, upwards of 4 hours a day is not uncommon for lots of school-age kids. That’s Almost 30 hours a week. 

If someone says that they are overworked but spends that amount of time glued to their phone the issue is not a lack of time but rather an issue with time management. I would go further to suggest that for a large majority of people who feel overworked, the same applies to them.

 

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About the Contributors
Lily Dimarco, Opinions Editor
Lily is a sophomore and it is her first year being apart of The Navigator. She is the opinions editor and is excited to take on this role. Outside of The Navigator, Lily is apart of Southwest’s volleyball team. She enjoys being outside and listening to music whenever possible outside of school and loves mindfulness in nature as well as art and traveling.
Sam Scott, Staff Writer
Sam is a senior and this is his first year working for The Navigator. He is excited about joining the team as a Staff Writer. He is on the track and Nordic ski teams, you can find him spending with friends, whether it’s golfing, swimming, or watching sports.

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