Changes for the better for teenagers

Teenagers are behaving better in developed countries around the world, according to an article published in The Economist on Jan.13. Drinking, smoking, even drug use and premarital sex have decreased over the last two decades among teenagers.

Perhaps the most obvious worldwide trend is that teens are getting drunk less often and they are taking their first drink later.

In Australia, 1998 surveys showed that teens started drinking at age 14.4 and now they are waiting until 16.1.

In America all illicit drugs have become less popular, except marijuana. Fortunately, the opioid crisis has not impacted teens as much as young adults.

In America the teenage birth rate fell by two-thirds between 1991 and 2015.

In 1991 54 percent of American teens (14-18 years) reported that they had sexual experiences, but in 2015 41 percent reported that they had such experiences.

Now teens may send inappropriate messages and photos, but they are not as sexually active as their parents.

Parents in the developed world are a little wiser; they spend more time with their own children.

In America in 2012 the average parent spent 88 minutes a day looking after their children, but in 1965 parents spent an average of 41 minutes a day.

Fathers are noticeably more engaged in parenting now, and each child gets more attention because families are smaller.

Increased diversity in the developed world seems to be one of the reasons that teenagers are more cautious about adventuring into adult vices.

Immigrant parents place high emphasis on traditional taboos, and they worry about the safety of their children in the dominant culture.

Teens have less disposable income available because fewer of them have jobs now, and more of them are focused on school in the developed world.

They do not get out into the adult community as early as they did a generation ago.

Increased technology may be the most significant change in the lives of teenager.

Teens average more than 2 ½ hours on phones and computers each day. They have less real social interaction with each other, and they are monitored more closely by their parents.

Researchers do not know how this will impact their ability to function in society, but it does seem to be limiting their real time for vice in their youth.