Are Teens Living Addictive Lifestyles?

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The older generation has always loved to assume that the younger generation has addictive lifestyles filled with sex, drugs, and drinking. While this may have possibly been true in the past, teenagers today are leading tamer lives overall. According to a new CDC study, teenagers who are sexually active are using at least one method of self protection (condoms being the most popular, with 97% of sexually active teen girls reportedly using them). For males, teenagers went from 60% of them being sexually to 47% of them since the 1980s. As for drinking, the CDC survey finds that 63% of teens has ever tried alcohol, compared to 75% in 2007. Also, less than 11% of teens have smoked in the past month. Around 22% of teens reported smoking ‘weed’ in the past month. Even though we all know weed (marijuana) is not addictive or dangerous (unless laced with something else), many in the older generation are against ‘nature’s drug’ for reasons unknown to many.

From another point of view- we switch-over to another form of addiction. According to Common Sense Media, half of teens admit they are ‘addicted’ to their mobile phones. As the world is becoming more technologically advanced, teens being tech-savvy and up to date may not be the worst thing in the world. As much as ‘Baby Boomers’ want to say that teens are obsessed with their gadgets, they should know that 56% of parents admit to using their phones while driving and 51% of teens say they have seen their parents do this with them in the car. The older generation loves to blame the world’s problems on ‘Millennials’ and those who belong to Generation Z, yet according to the latest study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens and young adults are more cautious than ever. This contradiction is often clouded by the sudden popularity of mobile and internet addiction, since teens and young adults have retreated more into social media. This leaves teens with less physical interaction and more of an isolated individuality, that is often mistaken for cautious living since risky actions are less reported.

The older generations may be responsible for the mess they made and maybe even try to fix it, we are faced with a bigger problem that is only starting to evolve before our eyes. Is the current addictive lifestyle we see among teens currently causing a damaging rift for the future generations to come. Will the next generation (yet to be coined) adopt to the same trends or habits?