This Is What They Took From You: 17 Year Olds Have Never Known A Normal Teenage Life Thanks To Lockdowns

Homework, high-school crushes, papers, football games, dances, musicals, horrible lunches, after-school clubs: these are the things that filled normal teenage life before the Covid era. Most are social experiences. Even studying for “the big test” was usually done with friends.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner4 min read
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Thanks to bad policies and government-imposed isolation, many teens are suffering. They’ve spent so long being socially conditioned to hide their faces, isolate, and fear even the slightest possibility of death, that they lack the ability to function properly as a generation. Last June it was reported that youth suicide attempts had increased by over 50%, and by October a national state of emergency in childhood mental health was declared by the American Association of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association. 

What It Was Really Like To Be a Teen during Lockdowns

Because so many adults are busy bickering over politics, the state of youth mental health is not receiving the attention it deserves. Despite lockdowns ending and mask mandates being lifted, many teens are afraid to socialize. They fear removing their masks, or even worse, I’ve heard too many teens state that they like wearing a mask because “it hides my ugly face.”

We’ve yet to see information studying how lockdowns damaged youth self-esteem, communication skills, and mental health. Sure, these things may seem like small potatoes compared to a pandemic, but how individuals and generations see themselves and interact with others shapes the future of cultures and societies. The New Yorker recently interviewed a series of teenagers about their lockdown experience, and it gives a serious glimpse into the minds of those who were harmed most by bad Covid policies.

How a generation sees themselves and interacts with others shapes the future of society.

18-year-old Alicia Barton stated, “I remember for a while thinking, if I talk to friends, it will be fine. But eventually, I found myself not talking to anyone, just being in my room the whole day. For some reason, talking to people on FaceTime or Zoom, you’re even lonelier. My school is right next to my house – I can see it out of my window. I never thought I would be, ‘Oh, my God, I want to go back. I miss my school.’ When we did go back, a lot of my friendships kind of shifted. I thought that was going to be my little piece of normalcy, and it wasn’t. I think I’ve become maybe less of a social person. During lunch, it’s two people per table, and, when you’re done, put your mask up. And if by chance you don’t have someone to sit with one day?”

15-year-old Jackson Chang said, “By ninth grade, I realized that I kind of forgot how to socialize with new people. A lot of the time, I lounge around in my room and kind of just stare at my computer. There will always be, like, a YouTube video on, or I’ll be playing a game some of the time. But otherwise, it really does feel like nothing – I will just randomly be staring at my screen.”

Then there’s this take from 17-year-old Madeline Hill: “During Covid, I didn’t come downstairs unless I had to go to the kitchen to eat. I didn’t take showers, or really use the bathroom, unless I really needed to. I kind of just lived in my own filth. I was a little bit of a robot. I didn’t really eat or sleep or drink of my own volition, but I did homework. We are in this state of: You just put all these live shrimp into a boiling pot, and you just expected them to hang in there, and wait for the finished product. But they are in this pot and they’re squirming in there, and they have no idea what’s going on. We’re really struggling, and your issues are our issues now. Things that were once not a thought, or an afterthought, or maybe just a blip in somebody else’s existence, are now my existence.”

These accounts truly display just how long two years can be. What was supposed to be a few weeks was criminally extended for months and months. And now we know that lockdowns made no difference.

Lockdowns Interfered with Crucial Developmental Experiences

When Covid-19 spread, politicians and corporate moguls grasped at straws. Instead of investigating China for potentially releasing the virus from a lab, closing our borders, studying the virus properly to make sure it truly was a serious threat, or any number of other logical reactions, those in power chose to do what’s easiest – punish the American people and profit from fear. 

Everyone was fed the “two weeks to slow the spread” lie, but no one as much as the children. Everywhere kids were forced out of school, masked, and cut off from the outside world. It may have seemed like one giant snow day at first, but as the long-term effects of isolation took their toll, something happened to them: they kept growing.   

Even when schools reconvened in-person, normalcy didn’t return.

Adults like me felt like we just pushed pause. It was difficult, but nothing like having your teenage experience destroyed. The teen years are crucial to developing maturity. It’s the time when everyone learns to handle their emotions, look for truth, and find support in strong friendships. Even when schools reconvened in-person, normalcy didn’t – there were still masking and social distancing requirements, and the school could revert back to online classes at any time if there were an outbreak.

With true normalcy and stability gone for so long, and everyone just now accepting that the pandemic was never truly as bad as predictions suggested, the fear-mongering has devastated teens everywhere.

All for Nothing

What’s worse is the evidence clearly displaying that lockdowns had little to no effect on the virus.    

A July 2020 study conducted by an international group of researchers and published in EClinicalMedicine analyzed lockdown results in 50 countries, which determined, “[F]ull lockdowns and wide-spread Covid-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”

Professor Isaac Ben Israel, an Israeli military scientist, concluded in April 2020: “Some may claim that the decline in the number of additional patients every day is a result of the tight lockdown imposed by the government and health authorities. Examining the data of different countries around the world casts a heavy question mark on the above statement. It turns out that a similar pattern – rapid increase in infections that reaches a peak in the sixth week and declines from the eighth week – is common to all countries in which the disease was discovered, regardless of their response policies: some imposed a severe and immediate lockdown that included not only ‘social distancing’ and banning crowding, but also shutout of economy (like Israel); some ‘ignored’ the infection and continued almost a normal life (such as Taiwan, Korea or Sweden), and some initially adopted a lenient policy but soon reversed to a complete lockdown (such as Italy or the State of New York).”

A similar pattern of infection was common in all countries, regardless of their response policies.

Then there are the curious cases of places like Belarus, Sweden, and Taiwan. Belarus refused to implement lockdowns and saw one of the lowest death rates in Europe. Sweden displayed a similar scenario, and in Amelia Janaskie’s paper, “The Mystery of Taiwan,” she reported, “According to the lockdown narrative, Taiwan did almost everything ‘wrong’ but generated what might in fact be the best results in terms of public health of any country in the world.”

This information was known by the end of 2020. Yet somehow, lockdowns remained in place well after that. Some areas still have mask mandates and capacity restrictions, and are just now lifting them.

Closing Thoughts

Every parent whose child suffers from lockdown-related mental health issues should be seeking damages. Every teenager who was socially prevented from exercising their inherent right to peacefully assemble or learn and live as they need deserves the support and care they crave, in addition to mass-scale criminal trials prosecuting the “leaders” who reigned over their childhood. And last, but certainly not least, families must ban together and pressure their communities to recognize what these lockdowns have done and take measures to ensure that these kinds of harmful intrusive mandates and regulations are never put in place again.  

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