Here’s Why I’m Glad My Teens Watch BTS K-Pop Videos Between Online-Classes

It’s no secret that teens have been hit hard by the Country’s prolonged shutdown.

Just as their biology is pulling them out into the world, a virus has shut them in.

To my surprise, giggles met me as I came into the living room from my home office a few weeks ago. Hearing my middle school daughters laugh during online classes is rare, and it made me immediately curious. Then I realized the giggles weren’t because of class. They were on a 10-minute break and tuned in to one of the many, many, humorous videos produced by their favorite K-pop boyband, BTS — a worldwide sensation, in case you haven’t heard.

They might’ve been watching the band’s handsome young men dressed in funny costumes while performing one of their awesomely crisp dances, or perhaps seeing these same artistic athletes eagerly slurping ramen, or just being the captivating young men that they are (yes, I’m a bit of a fan too). Almost no matter what the band members are doing, it is an emotional salve for my daughters, and they laugh like crazy with each clip. Sometimes my cheeks ache from smiling too hard as I watch my girls watching those charismatic boys.

My older daughter, who is normally easygoing and affable, came to me a few months ago and said she thought she might be getting depressed. I took her seriously. As a mental health professional, I knew I would first support her in several lifestyle changes, and then if she continued to feel internally shaky, I’d find her a therapist.

We had a casual talk while doing the dishes together about how many stressors we were all living through and identified some that were hardest on her in particular. I explained (nonchalantly of course) that we, being humans, have to balance our internal scales of stressors and resources. Resources being anything that you: enjoy, are relaxed by, or feel emotionally lifted from. The fulcrum of these scales creates an ever-shifting seesaw inside of our days, hours, minutes. Whichever side has more weight takes the seat at the head of your emotional table.

Getting right into it, my daughter and I made a list of her resources. Some were longer commitments, and in categories I preferred, like family hikes, some were shorter commitments, and in categories she preferred, like BTS videos. They all went on the list, and the intention was to include several into each day.

Many of the resources my teens chose were “mini-resets,” so including a few into an afternoon wasn’t that hard. I could tell by their wry smiles that both my daughters were pleased that continuing to stare at their screens between classes, if it was for resourcing purposes, was now endorsed. A new assignment to find moments of amusement and laughter each day? That was a yes for them.

After a few weeks of intentionally upping our daily resourcing activities with mini-resets, and adding in longer resets to the weekends, my teen was pulling out of her funk. The tight spot in my chest I hadn’t realized I was hosting, finally released. My daughter was palpably more at ease too.

Today, when I come out of my home office to giggles and the faint sounds of BTS’s hits in the background, I’m all in. “Show me the funniest one you’ve seen today,” I’ll ask. Soon my laughter joins their chorus, and I find myself feeling so grateful for these seven young men from Korea. And, grateful that the three of us are pulling through this year — yes, our resilience is one of my resources.

Rebekkah LaDyne, MS, SEP, is a somatic therapist and researcher. Her book, The Mind-Body Stress Reset: Somatic Practices to Reduce Overwhelm and Increase Well-Being, is available now.