Why teens are becoming less motivated


K. Kilpatrick

Playing on their phones, Millbrook freshman Hannah Rose Morrow, Mary Katherine Boone, among many others catch up on social media during their lunchtime. As much fun as phones are, they can also be blocking teens from doing schoolwork, chores, and interacting with others, therefore lowering their overall work ethic and motivation for everyday tasks.

Taylor Jones, Editorials Editor

  Helping out with chores around the house and getting your homework done are just a few of the many important tasks us high schoolers do on a daily basis. We help our parents out with chores because we are training ourselves to provide and help out as we are now at the age where it is somewhat expected. As high schoolers, we also have work for eight classes to get done and prepare for on a daily basis in order to be successful in school. The aspect behind all of these daily tasks is our motivation- not only our motivation to get things done because we have to or we are forced to but also our motivation to become a better, more self-sustaining human. 

  As electronics, games, social media, and phones continue to make a larger impact on each of our lives, the amount of motivation that we all pursue becomes less prevalent and more impactful in our individual lives as we get older. Behind this rise in lack of motivation are psychological factors that lead to our procrastination. 

  The psychological reason behind teens’ lack of motivation is in regards to the constant cycle of being reliant on external factors to get us up off the couch and do something productive. External motivational factors drive certain wanted behavior with the use of rewards, like money, fame, or praise. As kids, we all were most likely bribed with candy, ice cream, or money as a reward for being good in public, obeying simple rules, or cleaning our room. This cycle then has become prominent in more situations even as we get older. Our parents now threaten to take away our devices or prevent us from hanging out with our friends in order to get us to help out with chores or finish our homework and projects. When asked how technology affects her work ethic and motivation, junior Sydney Martin stated, “I use my phone for a lot of activities, but it does get in the way with my school work a lot. However, I try my best to not let it, but I truly believe that ever since technology has upped its game, it has hurt my motivation to do school work and other chores.” 

  There are multiple other psychological reasons behind why the mind of an adolescent with lowering motivation responds to tasks the way that they do. Another reason is that as a child grows into an adolescent and into a young adult, their view of their abilities changes, and they become more aware of their peers’ abilities and feel as though they are on the same level as their friends. This makes it harder for a teenager to become independent and view their own lives separately and focus on themselves and their improvement. A third reason would be a fear of failure that leads to a state of depression. This state of depression is not severe in every case, but depending on your life it could be. Some fear failure and tend to not put themselves out there to be turned down or lack performance quality. Whether it is on a test or any other task where skill is measured, motivation could be lowered if the person has a fear of failure. 

  As we are heading into the second quarter of the 2019-2020 school year, I encourage everyone to always try their best in everything whether it be classwork, tests, athletics, or theatrical events because if you have a positive mindset, your motivation will increase and you will succeed.