Over the past year or so, I've been able to watch several teenagers close-up in social situations. It's pretty ugly. I feel depressed for them although it wouldn't surprise me if they themselves didn't feel depressed but pushed the feeling down, covering it with complaints of tiredness and boredom.
They have hundreds of ways to communicate with one another, cell phones, IM, texting, Facebook, etc but so much of it is superficial. Text messages can only be 160 characters. They are learning to speak in soundbites, expressing incomplete thoughts. So their knowledge of one another is very shallow.
Beneath the surface of their lives is a pool of anger. If someone says something to them and it is perceived as something negative, they strike back in kind. They don't learn to trust one another. Resentment towards the other person builds and another friendship/relationship falls by the wayside. This just reinforces their isolation, that they are not understood, they are not loved.
Even if they have pets, they don't interactive with the pet. They may not even like to acknowledge that the pet has a name.
If they connect with someone long enough to get physically intimate, i.e. hook-ups, they discover another way to enable bad feelings to arise because they haven't gotten to know one another emotionally. The girl learns that her feelings aren't reciprocated so her heart hardens a little bit more. The boy learns either that he can use another person or, like the girl, feelings arise in him that he wasn't expecting and which he doesn't want. He quickly ends the relationship and thus his heart hardens too.
It's worse if the couple goes all the way sexually. They don't have the maturity to know how to discuss their feelings and they are not financially ready to make a commitment to one another, i.e. marriage and so stress arises and because they don't have the skills to resolve it, the relationship ends and their hearts are hardened.
Where did this come from? The family, I'm sad to say...
They weren't taught in the home to respect others, to look for the good in others, to put someone else first. While the hard skills; working hard in school, doing chores around the house, are important, the soft skills are just as critical to leading a happy life.
Please pray for them. If they continue down this path into adulthood, it doesn't bode well for the next generation either.