Are “Safe Spaces” and “Trigger Warnings” Softening the Next Generation?

Anton Vierietin /
Anton Vierietin /

We grew up in a generation where we were supposed to deal with whatever came our way. Sure, some of it may have hurt our feelings, angered us, or even upset us. However, we brushed it off and moved on.

While our generation went through the School of Hard Knocks, today’s generation is a bit softer. They need things like “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.” Are these really necessary, though?

You can find a “safe space” in more and more places – including schools, college campuses, and even workplaces. It’s a place where a person or even a category of persons can avoid discrimination, harassment, or any kind of emotional harm.

North Carolina State University and other universities around the country generally reference the Oxford Dictionary definition: “a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment or any other emotional or physical harm.”

Meanwhile, we’re seeing trigger warnings on everything – TV shows, movies, books, and even newscasts. It lets people know that there is going to be potentially distressing material covered once they continue to move past the warning.

The warnings are specifically for those who may have survived some kind of trauma. This way, if there is rape within a book, the trigger warning will let a person know that it might not be the right book for them.

The problem is that safe spaces and trigger warnings didn’t exist 20 years ago. We simply had to deal with harassment and discrimination. And if we were triggered by what we saw or read, we simply had to deal with it.

Many people believe that we’re softening today’s generation. It creates an atmosphere of coddling, which makes it harder for them to deal with the reality of the outside world. What happens when someone grows up and enters a workplace where there is no safe space and where they may be shown things without trigger warnings?

It can lead to people being unable to handle life. They’ll simply shut down emotionally and physically because they’re overwhelmed.

Are we creating a generation where kids aren’t being taught how to handle their emotions with effective coping mechanisms?

Today’s generation may be too soft. We have to make sure that students are able to recognize adversity and manage it in an effective way. Confronting controversial perspectives is a part of life, and it’s the only way that we can truly reach unity within our country – something that the Biden administration seems to have lost sight of. If universities continue to coddle their students, the new generation may be completely doomed.