What This Generation of Teenagers Value
Ever wish you could grab snap shot into the collective mind of a generation. Well for those of us down under we get a chance each year to have a pretty good look.
Every year in Australia a fantastic charity called Mission Australia conduct a nation wide survey of young people. This is the largest survey of its type in Australia and is into its ninth year. The primary purpose of the survey, is to identify both the values and issues of concern to young people. They have just released the 2010 findings. This is a great resource for anyone working with youth or raising teenagers.
This year’s survey covered both the personal concerns of young people and the issues they identified for Australia as a whole. The data is collected from over 50,000 young people between the ages of 11-24. Respondents are from every state and territory in Australia with a mix of both urban and rural areas, and from a variety of ethnic, & indigenous backgrounds.
Here is a snapshot of some of the key findings.
What Young People Value
Respondents were asked to nominate what they valued most highly.
78.8% highly valued Family relationships
60.9% highly valued friendships
33.9 % highly valued Physical and mental health
29.3% highly valued school or study satisfaction
Issues of Personal Concern
Participants were asked to rank their personal concerns from 15 issues. The top three personal concerns were:
Body Image (31%). This increased with age with 40.3% of the young adults nominating it as a major concern
Family Conflict (27.8%)
Coping With Stress (27.3%)
Most important Issues in Australia Today
This year new question was introduced which asked respondents to indicate what they thought were the three most important issues in Australia today.
45.7% of respondents identifying the environment as a major issue.
37.1% of young people indentified alcohol and drugs
21.0% considered crime, safety & violence to be an important issue
Respondents were asked to identify the activities they are involved in
71.3% of Australian young people participated in sporting activities
51.2% indicated they watched sport
31.2% participated in cultural /artistic activities
28.3% were involved in volunteer work. 47% of young adults actively volunteer
How do young people feel about the future?
Young people were asked to indicate how they felt about the future.
64.3% of respondents indicated they felt positive or very positive about the future.
27.0% of respondents felt neither positive nor negative about the future.
8.7% of young people felt negative or very negative about the future.
The report’s authors identified a number of priority issues that emerged from this year’s survey. Below is the a brief summary of their conclusions.
The environment: The environment was clearly identified as a key national issue by a large proportion of young people.
Coping with stress: The data indicates young people are juggling a range of competing demands and pressures. These often include relationships, education, employment and expectations from parents, peers, schools, the wider community as well as themselves, that they will achieve ‘success’ and increased independence and self-reliance.
Alcohol and drugs: Young people identified alcohol and drugs as the second top issue facing Australia today. Areas for action include ensuring drug education programs are based on the evidence of what works and equip young people with the skills to effectively deal with this issue, if and when they come across drugs.
Body image: Young people’s level of concern about this issue remains quite high, particularly among the young adult group who may have missed out on strategies more recently developed and implemented in schools to help young people develop a healthy body image.
Family: The survey again confirms the importance of family to young people for both genders and all age groups continuing into young adulthood. Family relationships are what is most important to young people and they are major sources of advice and support when young people have a problem.
You can download a full copy of the report here.