Here’s Some Good News About Teenagers For a Change

Today’s teenagers are apparently the most driven for a century


by Sophie Cullinane |
Published on

Teenagers get a pretty bad reputation in the press, don’t they? If they’re not all sexting, porn-crazed lunatics, they’re lazy skivers who only managed to scrape that pitiful C grade because GCSEs are ‘so much easier’ now than they ever were in ‘our day’. (Quoting older people, fyi – not us.)

So it makes a nice change to hear some good news about teenagers for once. A new study has revealed that today’s teens are actually more ambitious than at any time in the last 100 years. Take that, naysayers.

The study, which was carried out for the National Citizen Service – a scheme to teach 16 and 17-year-olds leadership skills – found that four in 10 young people now say they want to do well in their working life, with 14 per cent saying it’s the most important thing to them.

Historian Heather Ellis, of Liverpool Hope University, who worked on the study, told The Sunday Times: ‘Today’s teenagers know they can’t depend on having a job for life.

 Instead of responding negatively and becoming apathetic or angry, many are so anxious to succeed they’re starting to work while still at school, some as young as 15, by setting up their own businesses, often using their sophisticated digital skills.

‘The baby-boomers were the first generation not to have to worry about going hungry, being unable to afford a doctor, or not having enough money to further their education.

 Generation citizen, growing up against the background of the recent recession, are more acutely aware of many of the issues that worried the war generations, such as financial security.’

The study looked at seven generations of teenagers to examine how they viewed work when they left education. It found that far from being work-shy, today’s teens are at least as ambitious as any of the previous generations. Only the ‘silent generation’ of 72 to 89-year-olds, who grew up in the 1930s at the time of the Great Depression, came close to showing the same levels of aspiration as today’s teens.

So it seems the recession might have had at least one vaguely positive affect then...

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiecullinane

Picture: Eylul Aslan

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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