The reality gap between parents and teens today

Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed School Psychologist & Author explains how the reality gap between parents and today has been one of the largest in recent history and how that has had effects
Advice For Parenting Teens | Today's Reality Gap Between Parents and Teens | Kids in the House
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

The reality gap between parents and teens today

Comment
677
Like
677
Transcription: 
Stephen Wallace: In the first year of my 6 year rolling Teens Today study that I did for Students Against Destructive Decisions, I found what I call a disconnect between the real world that kids live in and the make-believe world that many of their parents think that they live in. Or hope that they live in, or desperately want to believe that they live in. And that reality gap shows in some pretty significant ways. For example, compared to what their parents say about them, high school students are 8 times more likely to say that they are using alcohol, they’re 4 times more likely to say that they’re using other drugs, and they’re twice as likely to say that they’re having sex. Again, compared to what their parents say about them. That disconnect, that reality gap, leaves parents on the sidelines when it comes to influencing their child’s choices. Since I wrote Reality Gap, the biggest change I’ve seen is the proliferation of social networking. And those social networking opportunities from social networking sites really changed the way that young people communicate with each other, influence each other, and make decisions. I think social media has both great potential and great pitfalls. It has great potential that it helps kids stay connected to their peer group. As pitfalls, because young people often use social media to spread photographs or information about destructive behaviors they may be engaging in. It creates a social norming effect. In other words, it creates a new norm or perceived norm for how many in one’s peer group engage in one particular behavior. You ask young people for example, what percentage of your peer group uses alcohol? They will tell you it’s in the high 98th percentile when of course it is not. It’s in the low 60th percentile. But social media creates the perception that everybody’s doing it.

Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed School Psychologist & Author explains how the reality gap between parents and today has been one of the largest in recent history and how that has had effects

Transcript

Expert Bio

More from Expert

Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed

School Psychologist & Author

Stephen Gray Wallace, M.S. Ed., is president and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE), a national collaborative of institutions and organizations committed to increasing favorable youth outcomes and reducing risk. He is a consultant to summer camps on staff training and teen leadership programming and has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent/family counselor. Stephen is a member of the professional development faculty at the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Camp Association and a parenting expert at kidsinthehouse.com, NBC News Learn and WebMD. He is also an expert partner at RANE (Risk Assistance Network & Exchange) and was national chairman and chief executive officer at SADD for more than 15 years. Additional information about Stephen’s work can be found at StephenGrayWallace.com.

More Parenting Videos from Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter