By a worried and appreciative teenager
I am a twelfth-grade girl, pretty Chassidish, typical, fun, teenager who is certainly not oblivious to the world around you and me. I am extremely involved in my high school and have given up a lot of my time to improve my high school through G.O. programs, Achos, Farbrengens and just trying my best to be a role model in school. I am good friends with people from different upbringings within Chabad.
My concern is that there has recently been a major drop in the frum standards of teenagers, regardless of their external appearance, 100% tznius or black hats and white shirts.
The new reality is that boys and girls are mingling and their interaction seems to be getting worse with time.
All you need is a username on Instagram or Snapchat and you are instantly connected to any boy. There are some with enough self-control who leave it at a phone call and short text conversations, or a chat in a public place, but there are many without this much self-control.
These boys and girls are interacting for the sake of having fun. They are not looking for the person they want to have a lifelong relationship with, as were the old days. They are doing it to fill a void.
Recently, someone opened a public Instagram account where frum people send ‘confessions’ about what they have done or are doing. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see what other boys and girls around my age are doing with themselves. You could never tell by looks where people were 2 hours ago, or how many girls or boys they’ve interacted with that month.
The anonymous person who runs the account attempts to give advice but the results of success are probably little or close to none. These teens are seeing that people in the same group and community are doing the same thing and are being comforted, telling themselves that maybe it’s not as bad as they thought because so many other people are doing the same thing.
The bigger issue is that some have crossed a red line that no frum teenager should EVER cross. I’m talking about emotional relationships and even physical ones. It has come to a point that even the girls and boys who are seemingly “Chassidish,” are succumbing to this struggle.
These teenagers that are struggling and acting on their desires are often not only the stereotypical troublemakers. These boys and girls are role models for YOUR children; they are their counselors, Chavrusas, friends, and classmates. They are being expected to serve as Dugma Chayas in different places such as day camps.
These interactions cause these teenagers to question other fundamentals to their Yiddishkeit. It also causes many other issues to leak into our communities, such as drugs and smoking. Issues like drugs and smoking start a vicious cycle that is much harder to deal with.
I, as well as many of my friends, have worked so hard to overcome my struggle despite what’s happening around me. I am just a one person in the big scheme of things, and I am at a loss for how to help start solving this problem. The only thing I know I can do, at this stage of my life is improving myself and being a good role model and support for my friends.
I’m not writing to COLlive to “out” anyone or get responses. I am writing so that Rebbeim, principals, teachers, parents, and mashpiim take action. It feels like you are not aware of the worsening problem. We are struggling and drowning in this terrible Golus in front of your blind eyes.
I hope you will not start a hunt to find out the already struggling teenagers and kick them out of school. We are in need of some SERIOUS inreach, done with love and care and validation.
We need people who will look at every child and ensure that she is emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy. Then, we need leaders who will ensure every child is happy. It is ONLY then, that we can expect these children to recognize and appreciate Yiddishkeit and what it has to offer.
To the caring and loving parents, teachers, principals, and Mashpiim, we are counting on you to help us stay afloat, and to help us see the beauty of Yiddisheit and Chassidishkeit.