1984 is today (for teens)

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This reference is used to annotate "I would never send my kids to school" (2017) by Piotr Wozniak

I stay in touch with the teen world. I get to know many of my young friends on a nearby football field or on a street workout. The new generations come in, and then invariably fade out or move out. But teen life seems to always stay the same, and it is not a pretty picture.

A recent mail from a teen friend eloquently depicts the problem:

For teens, school is usually a depressing waste of time. To what may seem as a kid who is the normal level of sad, to his friend will be a face so rich with learned helplessness they are on the brink of suicide. Most student's learned helplessness has been broken in so thoroughly that they have no hope left and for a lot of them their future is fuzzy and unclear but consistently grey. The omnipresence of other students and friends going through the exact same torment is indubitably one of the factors that make the days tolerable and justifiable, when asked about the possibility of homeschooling, loneliness and FOMO are easily the most common rebuttals. Students frequently see their fellow classmates be punished disgustingly unjustly and will look only with pity, with no fire to change it. They've been broken in

To my mind, the end of compulsory schooling would instantly resolve the torment of teenage life in many households (see: Declaration of Educational Emancipation). Even homeschooling might be a solution, but teenagers struggle to explain the value of freedom to their parents. It is truly exasperating to hear parental testimonies that clearly indicate minimal understanding of their own children. Some parents claim falsely that their children love school. I falsify this claim easily by means of a 3 minute conversation with the child. I am on a perpetual hunt for children who truly like school (see: Why kids hate school). Others claim that teen problems are just a stage, or even that "Teens hate everything!".

For an insight in teen psychology, I recommend an essay that paints teen life in truly dark colors. It is an equivalent of an Orwell's take on the world. The essay was written by an anonymous 15-year-old with a clear literary talent. It is a visceral peek into a teen's condition that emerged days after the child was refused the option of homeschooling. Kid's deeply religious mom is truly convinced that school is a good thing and "homeschooling is isolation and risk". However, there are no inter-generational communication tools that could bridge the adult world and the teen world. The mom in question did not even read the essay for it could actually make things worse. The essay explains:

We've hijacked the parents valuations so effectively they completely ignore overt signals of unforgiveable suffering from the beloved offspring they swore to protect!

The result?

Thousands of children begging in pain to their parents… thousands of parents just wanting to do right by their children… thousands of hours of misguided, pointless suffering

Why don't children have the right to vote?

Oh silly, silly, silly. You don't seriously think we'd let the incarcerated have the vote do you? That's oppression 101!

Why don't compassionate teachers help?

Nowadays the types of people who come into the teaching job actually think their job is about helping the incarcerees, as apposed to just guarding and babysitting them like originally intended […] The Hiring Division only hires the teaching staff if they got high number labels when they were kids

When the voice of the young generation attempts to prophesize in disbelief, it is met with sardonic contempt:

"Someone will stop you. You’ll fall, like racism did, like sexism did. They fell. You’ll fall" Ah, but we’ve taken measures against that too, oh naive one

Is it fair to compare teen school reality with 1984? There is thought police, there is the ministry of truth, there is newspeak and censorship, etc. However, is there fear? Winston could at least plot against the system. A teenager feels helpless. And threats are there too: penalties and imprisonment for parents, loss of parental rights, reform schools, etc. There is a seemingly benign apparatus of coercion behind the scenes. The only measure of fear is what is perceived by the child's mind. For a helpless teen who fears retention, mild coercion may cause greater fear than that of a rebel with a ray of hope for change. Teen suicide is a very accurate measure of the degree of desperation.

Parents and educators need to know that for many teens, their world feels truly Orwellian

Quoted excerpts come from the following reference:

Title: The true face of the Enemy

Blog Link: https://gingerjumble.wordpress.com/2020/12/11/the-true-face-of-the-enemy/

Discussion link: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/q74jJCb9SFg2PSYCw/the-true-face-of-the-enemy

Date: Dec 11, 2020

Backlink: Why kids hate school

Author: anonymous (nick Jay TheTrueSquidward, age 15, location: the European Union)