The Teenage Dream Stereotype Has Changed

Lecya Santiago, Op-Ed Editor

A stereotypical image comes to parents’ minds when their teenagers ask to go out with friends. Thoughts of alcohol and risky behavior lead to a decisive “no” without considering how life has changed since the 1980s. Is this pipe-dream idea, the ‘teenage dream,’ even possible in a post-covid world? 

A lot has changed since the 2010s (and since Katy Perry’s song “Teenage Dream” came out.) Ten years ago, COVID-19 did not exist, nor did the idea of quarantine. With online school and new standards for enjoying high school life, the Dream has become a far-fetched concept that isn’t accurate for current teenagers.

As traditional pressure increases every year from parents regarding their children’s future, many teens have changed to using other means of fun as their outlet. Video calls while gaming have replaced the stereotypical solo cups. Partying with alcohol isn’t actively promoted now, especially with how health-conscious people are during a pandemic.

Is there a possibility that this traditional stereotype is better for teenagers in the long run? Generally, partying is good for increasing socialization, confidence and independence. To throw someone into a group of mixed humans is significant for a person’s developing social life, though getting added into a group chat does the same thing. The modern world is teaching these values in a way that appeals to and makes them easier to accept in teens’ social life. 

Teenagers can learn socialization through various apps like Instagram, posting pictures and replying to comments is only one of the many ways they can speak to others over the phone. Gaining confidence through finding new ways to enjoy life while stuck inside; to bake and posting on TikTok is the essence of pure euphoria for a teenager. They can learn independence simply by navigating the ever-changing world a day at a time. There are new standards to what fun could mean after being limited to using what’s in a persons immediate vicinity. After two years of staying inside, the mindsets of teenagers change with the developing times. The idea of staying out and being reckless has been altered as societies post-quarantine living forces the dream to cultivate a new typical teenage experience. 

The teenage dream is real in the sense that every day is an experience in a teenager’s life. Teenagers can cultivate their own dream to live their life. Society should abandon the concept of partying in the late-night hours to show what it’s truly like to be a social creature in the current world after being shut in for so long.