Raised in different cultural and socio-economic conditions, and faced with a variety of issues including dysfunctional families, educational challenges, disease, poverty, drugs and violence, American teens exist in a climate their parents did not experience.
According to the 2000 United States Census, there are nearly 41 million Americans between the ages of 10 and 19. That means American teens represent about 14 percent of the total United States population. Morally and statistically, the needs of American teens cannot and should not be ignored.
Media reports highlighting the negative activities of a few bad individuals or gangs tend to misrepresent the level of promiscuity, disrespectfulness and violence associated with American teens as a whole. In fact, the opposite is true: according to a US government study released in 2004, American teens are taking great strides forward. For example, the report outlined record low teen birthrates, dropping teen crime rates, less cigarette smoking, increased school retention, and high vaccination rates.
Furthermore, American teens are now becoming more involved in family life, with many choosing to live longer at home with their parents, or choosing to pursue jobs or post-secondary education that is close to home.
American teens are also ‘leading the transition to a fully wired
and mobile nation’, according to a new Pew Internet & American
Life Project report. From the use of cell phones to the internet, American
teens are more connected than ever. The good news is they are using that
connection to become more informed. More than three quarters of the teens
who access the internet from home use it to get news online, while nearly
a third use the internet as a means of getting basic health information.
Older American teenage girls are particularly likely to search internet
resources for information about prospective schools, about health issues
and about religious matters.