October 24, 2017 —
Every month, we keep you informed on the latest studies and research in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re looking at a recent study from the Child Development Journal, which examines the changes in typical teen behaviors from the 1970s to the 2010s.
Times are changing and so are teen’s habits. A 40-year study published in the Child Development Journal recently culminated and provided some surprising data on how teen behaviors have shifted over time. Turns out, today’s teens are in no rush to grow up. Not only are they putting off life milestones, such as driving and going to college, but they’re also not as quick to engage in activities like underage drinking and dating.
The study compared data from 1976-1979 to 2010-2016. Between 1976 and 1979, 86% of high school seniors had been on a date; between 2010 and 2015, only 63% had. The portion that had held a job plunged from 76% to 55% and the number of teens who had tried alcohol plummeted from 93% to 67%.
This study is certainly an eyebrow raiser. What is causing this slowdown? Some argue that the digital age is drastically changing how teens interact with each other. These days, teens no longer have to meet up in person to connect with their peers; instead, they can simply send a text or keep up with each other on social media. Without meeting in person, teens might find themselves in risky or peer pressure situations less often.
While it’s easy to be happy about teens engaging less in risky behaviors, such as underage drinking, it’s a bit perplexing to see them being seemingly less motivated about getting their lives and responsibilities started by getting jobs, learning how to drive and going to college.
Some are arguing that it’s is a good thing that teens are in no rush to grow up. This mindset allows them to enjoy being young and hold off on big decisions, such as what they want to get a degree in, until they’re ready to make them. Others are viewing the change as a sign of teen laziness and are worried about what effects these changing behaviors will have on society once this generation starts to enter the workforce: Will they be better prepared to take on the world or will they be behind the curve?
For more information about this study and insight into various perspectives on the findings, check out this Washington Post article.
Where do you stand on the results of this study? Leave your thoughts below.