Although young people are often castigated as lazy, indifferent, materialistic, or irresponsible by an older generation, this is a description of the effects, not an enumeration of the causes.
Many of the issues late teens and early 20-somethings face are a mystery to the older generation. These issues cause serious concern for society as a whole. The generation gap is becoming a chasm.
Some issues affecting youth are old, others new, but with the faster pace of life, there may be a time when society as we know it breaks down because there are few people committed to building a better world.
Let’s take a look at six major issues affecting youth today:
Drug and alcohol abuse
Perception is very important to young people. During the prohibition, consuming illicit alcohol was considered a symbol of defiance and rugged individualism.
In the golden days of Hollywood, smoking was considered the new symbol of sophistication and it became popular to smoke. However, after the anti-tobacco movement was able to show a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer, smoking stopped becoming popular.
Now drugs and alcohol display social status, insouciance, and coolness. These can become so addictive that rehab Arizona centers in Arizona offer 90 inpatient treatments to ensure full detoxification and recovery.
The pervasive abuse of drugs and alcohol results in an amplification of negative behaviors-low grades in school, poor job performance, and anti-social behavior that culminates in sexual abuse and violence. Successful drug recovery requires young people to be willing to change for the better.
Decline in Education
While part of the education challenges young people face before going to college is underfunded schools, it’s not all about economics. Yes, African-American and Latino schools lag behind in providing quality education while schools with Whites and Asians appear to have far superior teachers and facilities.
However, this is not the only factor at play. The decline in education can’t be fully attributed to a lack of books, good teachers, and education facilities.
Another factor is a general disdain for learning. Smart kids are often socially ostracized and called nerds or geeks. In many schools, they are bullied. Academic achievement is not respected for its own sake or for the promise it provides of creating a better future for individuals and society.
Unfortunately, indifference to the value of education is only one of the problems facing American schools-a much more sinister one is violence in schools. Although statistics show that violence has decreased over the last decade, this may often be due to underreporting. It’s not just bullying, but homicides that still plague schools.
Sociological issues include the breakdown of the traditional family structure with the prevalence of more single parenting.
Children who are raised by single parents rarely get the attention or learn the value they need to do well in life when they grow up. In addition, the household has a lower income. These problems arise because the single parent is often struggling with both raising a child and holding down a job.
A TopTenz article on the issues facing youth today, explains:
The problems begin at home. Since the 1950s, the number of single parent homes has consistently increased to the point of catastrophe. Today, 14 million single parents are responsible for 28 million children. Raising a child is difficult enough in a two parent home, especially in tough economic conditions.
Economic issues arise from America’s debt crisis. Currently, the US debt is 19.9 trillion, which means that debt per citizen is $61, 425 and debt per taxpayer is $166,370. This debt affects the quality of education young people receive because public schools don’t get the budget they need to educate young people in the skills of tomorrow. In addition, it is difficult for young people to get jobs, and even those with Ph.Ds are returning home to live with their parents.
Since there is more information than ever before, cognitive processing has shifted away from reflection and analysis to scanning and surfing. There is also more interest in entertainment over education.
The idea of spending quality time with other people has been replaced by social media surfing and texting. While friendships still exist, they are based more on sharing information, then on spending time together, and the idea of building friendships that last for a lifetime is becoming less of a social norm.
The world has changed in an unprecedented way for young people, resulting in more isolation and existential anxiety, and, as a result, it has been harder for them to mature and achieve social equilibrium and economic success.