The Big Bad Myth About Adolescent Anxiety

With a high-pitched ping my phone screen lights up and I immediately look to see where my notification is from despite being in the middle of a conversation with a group of friends. My heart sinks into my stomach as I read “BIOL 141: Exam 1 Grade Posted”. Immediately fears of failure and “what ifs” flood my brain as I think about the impact this test grade has on my life. Images of my disappointed parents looking down at me and my career goals going up in flames flash before my eyes as I look down at the irritatingly bright screen which in the moment seems to hold all the answers to my future. With trembling hands I slowly unlock my phone and navigate to the Canvas site. Only when I finally see my grade and let out a sigh of relief do I realize that I had been holding my breath the whole time.

In this digital age it often seems as if our personal technologies are an extension of our very being. While the benefits of technology are great, the ways in which this advancement has changed our very realities are not all positive and can often lead to heightened feelings of doubt and uneasiness. However, despite the increased atmosphere of apprehension that technology creates, from a pathological standpoint, this new media age does not directly cause anxiety disorders in adolescents.

In the article “The Big Myth About Teenage Anxiety” by Dr. Richard Friedman this topic of an increase in self-diagnosed anxiety disorder is further explored in order to prove that there is no causation between new technologies and adolescent anxiety. Dr. Friedman uses a scientific basis to combat this incorrect conspiracy theory that is a direct result of parents’ fear of uncertainty.  Friedman states that “Some studies report an association between increased time spent on electronic communication and screens and lower levels of psychological well-being. The problem is that they show only correlation”. This quote helps support my point that while teenagers might be under more stress and therefore experience heightened feelings of anxieties in this modern world there is no evidence to prove that there is a direct link between technologies and anxiety. Many factors other than technology contribute to teenagers self-reporting feeling stressed including a greater pressure coming from changed societal norms and a post-Recession economy in which it is harder than ever before to find adequate jobs (Friedman). Therefore, while more technological advancements might be present in this age they are not the actual cause of anxiety disorders and depression.

This article can be considered credible because it was published in the New York Times which is a reputable newspaper. Furthermore this article provides the author’s name and credentials allowing readers to see that Friedman has a doctorate and is a licensed psychiatrist. It is important to note that this article includes many references to actual scientific studies and data which increase its credibility. “The Big Myth About Teenage Anxiety” was clearly written for an audience of worried parents who might not specialize in the neuroscience field and are unfamiliar with the topic. The fact that this article is an opinion piece slightly decreases its credibility because it is clear that it is not written objectively and includes its own biases.

Friedman, Richard A. “The Big Myth About Teenage Anxiety.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 Sept. 2018.


2 Replies to “The Big Bad Myth About Adolescent Anxiety”

  1. Nicole I absolutely love your writing style. I especially appreciate the story at the begging of your response, as it sets up the argument you go into very well. You back up your thesis very well with points from the article which strengthens your personal stance on the issue. Your point about the correlation between technology use and heightened anxiety levels and its connection to other societal stressors is incredibly strong. Establishing the credibility of the article was a nice touch because it helped me as the reader buy into what you were arguing. Great job! I really liked your response because it helped me as the audience understand the article and what you were trying to say.

  2. Nicole, you did an amazing job with your response in reference to the article, “The Big Myth About Teenage Anxiety.” Your personal anecdote at the beginning of your post truly put the post into perspective from an affected individual, which helped the grab my, the reader’s, attention. The anecdote and casual tone from the blog also helped to emphasize that the blog was directed towards fellow students, not professors or high ranking individuals, which in effect made the blog post a rather comfortable and easy read. I also enjoyed the use of quotations from the article to clearly define which aspects of your claim were supported, such as when you denote that “while teenagers might be under more stress… no evidence to prove that there is a direct link between technologies and anxiety.” You then proceeded to elaborate on this connection, which effectively defined your position on the article’s topic. Your frequent references to the original article also showed that clear evidence was shown to support your thesis, which made your points and examples much more sturdy and consistent. I would love to see how you would use other sources to provide new perspectives and evidence/examples. Overall, you did a great job on staying on topic with the original topic and your claim about teenagers’ anxiety. Your evaluation of the original post also helped to assure me that correct context was used.

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