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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Why are young people volunteering less?

Peyton McKenzie

From an increase in narcissism and selfishness, to being overworked and not having enough time to help others, kids and teenagers don’t help in their communities as much as they used to. There are countless factors that contribute to this saddening decrease in volunteer work.

However, volunteering is important because it’s evident that individuals in our society today don’t care about others as much as they should. But they didn’t stop caring out of nowhere, so why did teens stop volunteering? 

Some believe it’s due to an increase of narcissism in young people. Generations today are more entitled than they used to be. This is due to a domino effect of social media, money and parental influences, according to Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University.

When it comes to social media, simple actions such as posting a selfie encourage “narcissism and selfish behaviors,” according to a 2015 study from Elon University. 

Just like social media, money can have a similar negative effect. It’s common nowadays for kids to get an allowance for doing chores. What happened to kids helping out of the good of their heart? While this is a small issue on a much bigger scale, it perpetuates the idea that volunteering requires a tangible incentive. This treatment has created an environment where helping others has to be rewarded.

Teenagers are also too busy and overworked. They don’t have time to focus on other people when they barely have time to focus on themselves. Especially in high school, there is pressure to put as much on your plate as possible for resumes and college applications.

Students often join random clubs, and don’t even attend the meetings half of the time just to add another thing to make them look good on college applications. However, community service and volunteering arguably looks better to admissions, though this shouldn’t be the main reason why people should volunteer.

When applying for jobs and college, volunteering shows hard work and commitment. It’s more valuable than just a status in a club because it offers a glimpse into you as a person and a better understanding of your character and values. Volunteering shows serious dedication to the community and a commitment to helping others. 

It’s shown that volunteering can also help with stress. It’s been proven that charity work actually releases dopamine and increases positivity, according to Mayo Clinic Health System. 

I can personally vouch for this. I spent years volunteering in my local fire department as a cadet. In a society where one of the main concerns is grades, it was something that wasn’t school related that I could look forward to. It helped me in many ways, specifically gaining better self-esteem, all while I helped others. Once I started helping people, I didn’t want to stop and received multiple awards that ultimately helped me stand out to colleges.

But who is to blame for the lack of community outreach from children and teenagers? Social media, money and being too busy are strong contributing factors, but the biggest factor of them all is the parental role in children’s lives.

Narcissists are made, not born. Studies from the National Library of Medicine show that parents who considered their kids to be better than others raised children who thought the same. Thus the kids developed narcissistic tendencies, according to Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

When parents give everything to their children, the children grow into greedy and out of touch adults who don’t have an ounce of care for others.

In an age where every kid has an iPad, there are ways to give back at the palm of our hands, whether it be in the community or even on our phones. The issue is, even though there are a surplus of opportunities, teens and kids either don’t want to help because of selfish reasons or they simply don’t have time.

The glue that holds a community together is the people. If people are helping in their community, they can easily improve it. If you want to help in your community here at Quinnipiac or in Hamden, there are plenty of opportunities. Quinnipiac gives access to organizations that aid elderly and those with disabilities, the environment and other causes in need. Some organizations on campus that promote volunteering are Foundation4Orphans, Habitat for Humanity and Bobcats in the Community, among others.

Ways to get involved include joining clubs or organizations that benefit the community on Quinnipiac’s DoYouQU website, the “Community Service Opportunities” section of the Quinnipiac University website, or if you’re looking for something local, there are plenty of options on the Hamden town website under “Volunteer Opportunities.”

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About the Contributors
Lillian Curtin, Associate Opinion Editor
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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