What is your perception of teenagers nowadays?
On the whole, are they better than they used to be? Do they get into more or less trouble? Are they more or less likely to do drugs? Are there fewer or more bullies among them?
The Economist points out "Young people are indeed behaving and thinking differently from previous cohorts at the same age. These shifts can be seen in almost every rich country, from America to the Netherlands to South Korea. Some have been under way for many years, but they have accelerated in the past few." But the differences may surprise you.
You can read more about them in "Teenagers are better behaved and less hedonistic nowadays", but here are a few interesting takeaways:
- teenagers don't try drinking until later and are getting drunk less often
- teenagers are less likely to try or start smoking
- fewer teenagers have ever tried mind-altering drugs (including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, inhalants or sedatives)
- teenagers are having less sex and teenage birth rates are in meaningful decline
Not all the trends are positive (for example, teenage depression is on the rise as are teenage suicides). But overall, these statistics may not be what you first thought they would be.
Wherever we are and whatever we do for our day jobs, we all should pay a bit more attention to the young people in our lives. They have a lot of good in them, but it is often facing a lot of rough stuff too. Learning how to respond positively to challenges is not always easy or natural. If you are looking for somewhere to start reading about things, here is a good place to start.
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Cover image credit: https://www.economist.com/news/international/21734365-they-are-also-lonelier-and-more-isolated-teenagers-are-better-behaved-and-less