Carol Platt Liebau: Shocking Statistics

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shocking Statistics

The suicide rate among tween and teen girls has soared, according to new statistics from the CDC.

Experts are puzzled as to why that's the case. My belief is that the trend is attributable -- in part -- to the fact that in many cases, girls have been left adrift in the sea of a culture that is profounding unhealthy for them. The emphasis on looks and the constant sexual pressure that's become concomitant with girlhood is an enormous load to place on the shoulders of adolescent females.

The impact is one of the issues I address in my forthcoming book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)," due out November 1.


Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

This is indeed a serious problem and I am in total agreement with you that our culture pushes children to grow up too quickly. However, the underlying problem is trickier to identify. The shallow analysis blames it all on an imaginary moral decay of our country. If only we would assert traditional moral values, it claims, then we could make some progress against this problem.

The real problem is deeper than that: the impossibility of isolating children from the world. Back in "the good old days", children lived in a tightly controlled environment; their only sources of information were their family, their church, and their school. It was easy to keep them naive about the ugly ways of the world, bringing them up to speed as they matured.

Nowadays, that's impossible. Between TV and the Internet, children now have ready access to the same information that adults have access to -- and there's mountains of it. Parents can shield them from pornography, but children can easily get around such barriers.

Realize also that children WANT to grow up faster than is healthy for them. Children are powerless, unable to control any aspect of their lives. They see the freedoms that adults have and envy them. They want to be like adults, and so anything that makes them feel more adult-like is eagerly sought. This is one of the factors that drive children to experiment with smoking. If it's exclusive to adults, they want to do it: driving cars, having sex, drinking, drugs -- anything that is denied to children becomes a badge of adulthood and is therefore associated with power and freedom.

What can we do about this? I don't know. But I do know that returning to traditional values won't accomplish anything.

10:53 AM  

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