Staying up all night, sleeping in, rushing to finish assignments, plotting the next move to make the high school heartthrob take a second look, all while consuming more amounts of caffeine a human body is able to sustain easily sums up the "teen years," or the time spent more on materialistic and superficial issues than any other time in one's life. Although this kind of lifestyle appears to be innocent, the dangers are just beneath the surface. One of the most challenging battles a teenager faces is disguised in candy hearts and sappy love notes. Dating in high school has increased the vulnerability and insecurities of teens all over, creating distractions that narrow the success of their futures and halt the growth in one's self.
Every parent has said it: "He/she has been on the phone for half of the day now." Today's teens spend more than seven and a half hours a day consuming media -- watching TV, listening to music, surfing the web, social networking, and playing video games -- according to a 2010 study of 8 to 18 year olds conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Dating at a young age has only increased these hazardous distractions that prevent high schoolers from focusing on the important matters of their world. Responsibilities like homework, grades, standardized testing and planning for the future are being sacrificed for the investment in a relationship. This further results in a double failure when teenagers lose their interest in class because of problems in the relationship.
Teenage dating deals more with exploring their new-found youthfulness than exploring the extent of love. Because of the truth in this statement, teenagers view relationships as possessing a boyfriend or girlfriend and not a mature, equal partnership which results in more cases of teenage dating than cases of everlasting friendship. Many high schoolers admit to wanting a boyfriend or girlfriend in high school, while others even feel insignificant being single. This sense of dependency for teens leads to the prevention of exploring personal identity during one of the greatest transformation years for a growing child. The long lasting effects this has on an individual can even scar them for future relationships.
Due to the constant change during the growing years, teens do not comprehend the simple components of a healthy relationship. It is imperative for the immature to truly know themselves before getting to know someone else, and the effects can be lifelong or even result in delaying the progression of one's future or personal growth.
We hold titles like, "the young and reckless," or, "the generation full of regrets and mistakes." Some may argue that this is just a part of growing up, but maybe it can be prevented. If high schoolers stopped to think about what is truly important right here and now, maybe a few years down the line we wouldn't have to look back on the heartache in regret.