Stories abound in the media about young people being pushed to the limit.
We are also told that more of them than ever are being diagnosed with psychiatric problems and many are being prescribed medicine to treat these conditions.
Nowadays, young people often feel lonely and use performance-enhancing drugs to live up to the demands for top marks at school and a presence on social media 24/7.
Is this just due to the fact that young people just can’t measure up anymore compared to the generation of their parents or grandparents, or is there really something more to it?
A relatively new thing
“We sometimes forget that going to school, up until the 1950s, just wasn’t that important,” Professor Ning de Coninck-Smith, a historian specialising in schools and the history of childhood from Aarhus University, told Kristeligt Dagblad.
“Today, school is everything and there is no alternative to that very institutionalised life, and that has changed young people’s ability to take care of themselves and affected their robustness. It has made things difficult for a relatively large number of children who don’t fit in very well with the demands that such a lifestyle requires.”
More stress, more loneliness
A number of other experts agree with her. All the research and statistics point in the same direction. The number of suicides has fallen, but otherwise, over the last 20 years, things have been going the wrong way in terms of stress, loneliness, depression and ordinary dissatisfaction with life.
A number of young people also have trouble sleeping and take increasing amounts of headache pills.