Today’s teenagers aren’t hurrying up to grow up.The authors of a recent studypublished in the journal Child Development examined 7 large, nationally representative surveys of US adolescents between 1976–2016, or 8.4 million kids ages 13–19.The surveys were based on “adult” activities like dating, drinking, and working for pay.
Late Bloomers Study
The mentioned study shows that the number of American teens having tried alcohol is the lowest in decades. The teen pregnancy rate has also reached an all-time low. The rates have dropped since 1976. The highest decrease is registered in the past decade. The decline is observed across race, geographic, and socioeconomic lines, including both rural, urban, and suburban areas.
It’s interesting to note that:
- Between 1976 – 1979, 86% of high school seniors had gone on a date; between 2010 -2015, only 63% had.
- During those years, the percentage of teens who had ever earned money from working dropped from 76% to 55%.
- Thepercentage of teens who had tried alcohol fell from 93% between 1976 – 1979 to 67% between 2010 – 2016.
- The percentage portion of high school students having had sex decreased from 54% in 1991 to 41% in 2015
What Do Researchers Think?
Parents have been trying to put more limits on their children’s independent activities over the recent decades. Also, according to laws in some states, children can’t go out in public or stayhome without adults.
According to Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families, teenagers have become more conscious about the possible negative consequences of their actions.
Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and lead author of the above-mentioned study, notes kids may not be that much interested in dating, driving or getting jobs anymore because,in today’s society, they don’t need to.
Twenge further mentions that, given adult activities, teenagers aged 18 now look like 15-year-olds once did. The psychologist thinks it’d be right to describe iGen as experiencing the worst mental-health crisis in decades, and it may be mainly caused by phones.
However, the authors of the study note the cause isn’t associated with fewer hours spent on homework and on extracurriculars (not including community service, which has risen a bit). It isn’t entirely associated with the use of smartphones and the Internet either since the decline was already observed before the rise of the mentioned technology.
On the other hand, there are researchers who think modern teenagers are more virtuous and responsible, as sociologist David Finkelhorargues. However, according to journalist Jess Williams, teens are just more boring. Others suggest today’s teens are lazy.
The truth is that none of these researchers and writers has been able to combine all these things together.
Electronic payments expert, Blair Thomas, co-founded eMerchantBroker in 2010. His passions include writing/producing music, and travel. eMerchantBroker is America’s No. 1 adult merchant account company, serving both traditional and high-risk merchants.