Sammy Nickalls
November 17, 2015 9:51 am

There’s an actual ‘anxiety generation.’ And no, it’s not millennials, despite the fact that we’re in bonkers student loan debt. It’s not an older generation, either. . . it’s younger.

In “Our Kids,” which aired on Monday in Australia, ABC’s Four Corners recently delved into the anxieties of teenagers, particularly teens in Australia. And with the recent attacks on Paris and the refugee crisis, teens are becoming more fearful than ever, worrying about political crises on top of body image issues and the breakdown of marriages.

For 12-year-old Zach, the main concerns aren’t homework or his crush liking him back, but rather issues like racism, terrorism, and poverty. And he’s not alone. “I found that quite upsetting to see people having to flee their homes [and] everything they know basically to try and find refuge,” 12-year-old Cameron told Four Corners. “And the parents being split up from their kids — it’s pretty heart-wrenching.”

Many of the teens interviewed on the program were anxious about the opposite sex looking at them like objects, with boys only being looked at for their muscles and girls only being appreciated for their bodies. “I know there’s some boys that do think that all the girls are just kind of like sex toys, which is horrible,” 16-year-old Gabrielle told Four Corners.

And this issue wasn’t just relegated to girls. Ethan, 15, told the program that he feels considerable pressure to lose weight to likable. “I felt the need to lose weight. . . because I just thought it was embarrassing to be around my friends when they. . . had good bodies and I just felt crap about mine,” he said.

One in four Australian kids say they worry about the future constantly, according to ABC. This can be considered an anxiety disorder, which is classified as anxiety that is hindering your everyday life. And if we take a look at our kids and teens today all over the world, Australians aren’t alone. Teens are worrying about everything from their body image to mental health to cyber-bullying to world issues, and the weight of it all may feel unbearable. Being a kid today often doesn’t equate to a carefree day playing with friends on the playground; it goes hand-in-hand with considerable modern-day pressure with few tools to cope.

For more information on anxiety and what to do to treat it, you can visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s website.

(Image via Shutterstock.)

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