American teenagers face an array of challenges while moving through adolescence. Most of these challenges are not new and include drug use, criminal involvement, depression, suicide, eating disorders and stress. These issues have been around for decades.
What is new is the social and environmental underpinnings of these challenges, including modes of communication, social media, societal change including redistribution of wealth, and interpersonal dynamics. For instance, 20 years ago, suicide was only rarely tied to an email or social media post. Now suicides are regularly connected to these cyber media.
This is a highly interactive review of the current state of some of the biggest challenges adolescents face today. The course is organized into topics, each covering the basics of the topic, the latest research findings (in very easy to understand digests) and how each issue is connected to current social phenomena such as social media. Application to youth in foster care is also a large component of each topic.
Participants with varying amounts of previous exposure to the topics are likely to learn new things that are immediately applicable to their work. At the end of the class, participants will:
- Understand the basic state of each topic covered
- Understand how recent societal and cyber changes have impacted each topic
- Learn skills that help youth service providers better help adolescents with each of the major challenges they face