What some people wouldn’t give to be young again — to ride the wings of that sweet bird of youth, to be a teenager once more.

On second thought . . . not in this life! 

That blasted time machine screwed up and should have been set to the early 1970s, not the 21st century. Why, the biggest youth dilemma back then was what TV show to watch on Saturday morning; it was either Tarzan or Adventures in Rainbow Country in between commercials of “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”   

Yes, one truly has to empathize with today’s youth and the pressures placed upon them by society and their peers. And after reading about the waning mental health of teenagers, according to the BC Adolescent Health Survey, it makes one a little sad, particularly if you’re a parent or an educator.

Growing up 30 years ago, teens didn’t have to fret about social media or online threats from bullies or predators. If you had a beef with someone, you settled it in the school yard and there was a chance that you became friends after that. If it did come to a fist fight, it was one on one; there was none of this 10 on one (like today). And when someone went down, it was over; you walked away without having to worry about the whole school seeing the video that night.

With the advent of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, anxiety levels among teens have shot through the gymnasium roof. Who cares if you have 50,000 likes; it doesn’t make you a better person. You’ve been unfriended or blocked? Big deal; there are many other people who would love to have a new friend to confide in without being judged or juried.

Kudos to Keira Neal and Daven McMurray from David Thompson Secondary School for trying to convince their peers to give up Snapchat in order to reclaim their lives and stop being slaves to that psychologically debilitating platform. 

Hats off also goes to Rocky Mountain School District No. 6 for exploring and initiating programs to improve the mental health of students suffering from stress and depression. 

The board is preparing to look at a policy on cell phone restrictions in schools following the provincial government’s announcement in January that it will limit cell phone use by students in class starting this fall. In addition, it will pass legislation to hold companies accountable for their addictive social media platforms that harm youth. Furthermore, the government will introduce services to remove intimate images online and go after the predators who post them. 

Well, it’s about time. In fact, what took them so long to act? Another suicide? Namely 12-year-old Carson Cleland who was the victim of online sextortion in October 2023.

These new measures by the BC government are commendable, but one has to wonder how it is going to hold these predators accountable on the deep, dark web, which is getting darker by the minute.

Lyonel Doherty, editor