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For almost 12 months now, Canada’s teenagers have essentially been locked up with their parents. By the time the pandemic ends, two sets of graduations and proms will have been cancelled, along with a year and a half of sports tournaments, school plays, movies, dates and parties – basically, everything they’d been promised would make the final years of high school the best of their vanishing childhoods. And unlike the postponed vacations adults have been whinging about, there’s no rebooking. That time is gone for good.
They spent it in their bedrooms, saved only by the screens their parents once scorned. Some weeks, school was safe enough, as long as they wore masks and stayed away from each other. They were warned constantly: Hanging out, let alone hooking up, would mean more people would die. Not them, though – as an age group, they’re relatively safe from COVID-19. So when you think about it, in a year of uncertainty, threat and stress, teenagers have been asked (ordered, really) to perform the largest gesture of collective altruism in recent history – at great personal cost, with the least say in the matter, and at one of the most important stages of their social and mental development.
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