7 Deadly Sins of Today’s Youth

When you think of the current generation of teenagers, what do you imagine they value?

For some time we have known that Gen Y were more conservative than Xers and definitely more conservative than the Baby Boomers. The conservative trend seems to be continuing and accelerating with the emerging generation.

Recent research conducted in Europe examined how young people envisage the world in their ideal future by collating their core values.  After sorting and ranking these values two lists of “rules” were created. The rules were called the new 10 commandments and the new 7 deadly sins.

British youth expert Sarah Newton was able to distill this research, with the help of MTV, and isolate the results for UK youth.  These lists make for interesting reading, and my take is they are a close match for Australian youth.

The New 10 Commandments of Today’s Youth

1. Thou shalt get a job with good prospects

2. Thou shalt not rack up huge debts

3. Thou shalt not eat junk food

4. Thou shalt respect the planet

5. Thou shalt get good qualifications

6. Thou shalt settle down with a man/woman of your dreams

7. Thou shalt travel and experience other cultures

8. Thou shalt always offer a seat to elderly people on a bus/train

9. Thou shalt work hard to buy a big house

10. Thou shalt not litter the streets

When I first read through these commandments I thought these young people were channeling the spirit of their parents. As you read the 10 commandments it sounds like a highlights reel of parental lectures condensed into 10 bullet points.

This is my main question about these findings, are they actual or aspirational? Do young people really embody and live these values? Or is it a list of what teenagers would like or think would be nice in a perfect world?

I would think a lot of people of numerous ages would like to live in a world with these as the top 10 realities. However what they want and what they get or do are not always the same.

Newton also notes that  91% want to find the right someone and settle down, 82% feel that a successful career is very important, and 62% want to work hard for a nice big house.  Such aspirations mean today’s youth will turn out to be just as materialistic as the “hippy counter-culture” boomers turned out to be.

The New 7 Deadly Sins of Today’s Youth

  1. Anti-social behaviour
  2. Addiction
  3. Bulllying
  4. Racism
  5. Obesity
  6. Debt
  7. Laziness

This list reads like a combination of modern day school welfare policies and personal development curriculum. It is not surprising that today’s youth have such a list of evils firmly implanted at the forefront of their consciousness, they must have seen at least 3 special instructional films on each in their school career.

The contradiction is that, at least in Australia, issues of bullying and alcohol fueled anti-social behavior seem to be even more prevalent than ever. This may be due in part to adults being more aware, but it is still happening.  If youth really believe such things are deadly sins shouldn’t incidents be dropping?

Anyway these are just my preliminary thoughts. What is your take on these findings?

Image by by Janine

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Showing 2 comments
  • BB

    these is so wrong!

  • DaveM42

    In the part of Sydney I live in these 10 commandments would be more imposed than valued by the teens themselves (but I reckon a lot of parents wouldn’t try and impose them either) I find the list of sins intriguing- Graham Stanton, Principle of Youthworks college in Loftus, Sydney believes that youth are thinking more in terms of honour and shame these days than of right and wrong (that is the main sin is looking bad not actually doing the bad thing). Obesity brings shame, so does anti social behaviour, etx… interesting

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