The Teens Are Getting Soft

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

Help! The teens are out of control, by which I mean they’re more in control and boring than they’ve ever been!


A recent study conducted by journal Child Development (via WaPo) investigated the huge drop since 1976 in drug and alcohol use amongst adolescents, as well as the gap in how many teens have driver’s licenses or jobs. While more than half of teens are a “yes” to questions about these activities, the numbers have certainly shifted:

Between 1976 and 1979, 86 percent of high school seniors had gone on a date; between 2010 and 2015 only 63 percent had, the study found. During the same period, the portion who had ever earned money from working plunged from 76 to 55 percent. And the portion who had tried alcohol plummeted from 93 percent between 1976 and 1979 to 67 percent between 2010 and 2016.

Don’t forget the fucking:

Teens have also reported a steady decline in sexual activity in recent decades, as the portion of high school students who have had sex fell from 54 percent in 1991 to 41 percent in 2015, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics.

Quelle horreur!

The Post reached out to various teens, their parents, and experts to ask about the pitfalls and merits of these changes. Some seem to perceive it as children being over-nurtured and unable to launch. Others say it’s a way of avoiding, for as long as possible, this nightmare world we’re currently immersed in, or that young people are already bogged down by their serious fears for the future. All seem muddy on whether or not it’s a good thing. One adolescent psychologist, Daniel Siegel, explained he believes that kids are adapting to changes in expectations:

“In a culture that says, ‘Okay, you’re going to go to high school, go to college, go to graduate school, and then get an internship, and you’re not going to really be responsible till your late 20s,’ well then the brain will respond accordingly,” he said.


That sounds like it takes a lot of responsibility to me. Also, plenty of family money.

If teens have too much anxiety to get laid, that’s a bummer. But maybe they just want to hang with their friends and play video games. Plenty of adults want that too.



What do teens do over the summer if they don’t work? This is a real question. When I was young I went to day camps or spent the summer with my grandmom in Atlantic City. I had one summer after grandmom died and when I was really too old for the camp where I did a lot nothing, I think. Then starting at fifteen I worked, and I worked every summer from then on until I finished college. I used to earn all my spending money for the year that way.

So like, what are they doing? Are they just hanging out? Are they going to sleep away camp? I’m sure some are going for “extra enrichment” but they can’t all be taking SAT prep classes or some bullshit like that, right?