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May 3, 2014

A Burt’s Bees Buzz—What Will Teens Think of Next? ~ Kim Haas

Photo: Joanne Saige Lee via Flickr

Apparently teens are using Burt’s Bees lip balm to get buzzed.

They aren’t eating it or inhaling it.

No.

They are smearing it on their eyelids.

That’s right. Their eyelids.

It’s called beezin’. The peppermint oil in the balm creates a tingly sensation, giving the teen a kind of high that is only intensified if they are already under the influence of other substances.

It reminds me of when I heard that girls were inserting tampons soaked in vodka into their bodies to get drunk faster.

Or when a middle school banned hair scrunchies because too many kids were soaking them in liquids and wearing them on their wrists that they could then inhale throughout the day to get high.

Seriously? Why can’t they put those creative powers to a more positive use?

I’m torn between admiration at their ingenuity and dismay at this seemingly unending quest to escape.

Getting high is not unique to this generation. I get that. But I’m left wondering what is unique to teens today that they feel this need to check out?

I have a theory.

With the Internet and social media, teens are “on” 24/7. Between tweeting clever bits of their lives, sending photos via Snap Chat and Instagram not to mention the constant availability of texting, they rarely have any down time.

There’s this constant pressure to be funny, clever or emotionally vomit their lives on-line.

Pressure to look good in all the selfies and pictures posted.

Pressure to be seen.

To be heard.

To be read.

To be liked.

Shared.

Loved.

Then there’s the isolation factor. It seems counterintuitive to think that being connected 24/7 can lead to isolation but it does. Instead of actually talking on the phone or in person, almost all communication is done via texting and photos.

This means our teens are alone with only the charade of intimacy.

Add in the anonymity that technology provides and they are left with friends who are brave enough to text their complaints or issues to each other behind the safety of a screen rather than having to deal with each other face to face. Things get said, but rarely resolved, that probably wouldn’t be said in person.

It seems that our teens are losing the most basic skills of empathy and connection. Losing these 2 vital components would leave anyone feeling isolated.

Maybe isolated enough to constantly search for ways to escape.

Isolated enough to smear lip balm on their eyelids to increase the high they already have.

Isolated enough to try whatever high is currently trending on all the popular social media sites they live on.

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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo credit: Joanne Saige Lee via Flickr

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