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Are today’s teenagers more responsible?

Rebellion is a symptom of youth. If you can’t do the opposite of what your parents would like, then you haven’t qualified as a teenager! But the latest survey shows a worrying trend – young people are becoming more responsible.

The five areas surveyed were drinking, drugs, unprotected sex, smoking and crime. In every single one of these areas, the numbers have dropped year on year since the 1990s.

A significant percentage of 16-18 year olds reported they had never had sex (66%) and a quarter hadn’t even tried alcohol yet. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service reports there has been a big reduction in the number of teenage pregnancies over the past decade. This may be due to fewer ‘accidents’ due to the influence of alcohol.

What are they doing instead?

Lots of good news here!

  • They like spending time with their families
  • They’re more focused on their studies.
  • They are more likely to have romantic relationships at a distance – online.
  • They communicate regularly with friends – but more online than face-to-face.

What’s causing this trend?

Firstly, kids are better educated about the hazards associated with all these activities. They know the downside and have access to far more information than any previous generations. It’s no longer a case of ‘because I say so’ from a parent, there is a huge amount of evidence online to reinforce the perils of experimenting.

Secondly, kids now spend an average of five hours daily online. This has meant that they are living life at a distance to some extent and none of these activities can be conducted online.

It seems that Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have replaced the coffee bar and are much more accessible and cheaper.

Thirdly, the effect of peer pressure is more evident, thanks to social media, and it seems that kids now see these things as negative, rather than ‘grown-up’. From when birth control was first widely available in the late 60s to 2016 the number of 15-17 year old girls who became pregnant has fallen from 47/1000 to 18.9/1000 – and it’s still
falling. Now that’s not just attributable to sex education and birth control, but to youngsters making more informed decisions.

So maybe the next ‘Generation’ label (e.g. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials) will be Generation Sensible.