Vox☭ has an article about the behavior of today’s teenagers, which it contrasts with the behavior of yesteryears teenagers. Today’s teens, my generation, are less likely to have sex, do drugs, drink alcohol, and fight. The article doesn’t really propose an explanation:
Seeing so many trends moving in the same direction suggests some bigger overarching explanation. Some have argued that the answer here is the decline in exposure to lead, which correlates well with some of the declines in teen crime and teen pregnancy. But at least one major recent study has questioned that relationship, suggesting it is based on faulty data.
I highly doubt it’s that we are any more conservative. My overarching explanation is that today’s teenage boys are more pussified. Less masculine. More geeky, nerdy, wimpy, “beta.” Whatever you call it, you know it when you see it. They aren’t the type to use drugs, and girls don’t want to have sex with them. My generation is less social; crime and drug use among teenagers is typically a social activity. The Vox article notes one exception to the rule of less risky behavior is that we are less likely to use sunscreen, but it fits well with my explanation: we spend less time outside.
What is the cause of this change? Liberalism and feminism is one explanation, but how often does the typical child get exposed to that? Besides, he was long told by stern faced females that he wasn’t supposed to do things, why should the feminist have more effect than the Sunday school teacher? Another explanation is antibullying. Once they said that the Columbine shooters were pushed over the edge by bullying(they were not) every teacher in the country got the message that they Had The Power to prevent another columbine. I think the biggest explanation is television, video games, and the internet. In the olden days we were forced to spend a lot of our time outside, being social and learning to break rules. It was simply harder to be the lonely nerd.
This change isn’t unambiguously a bad thing of course, there’s a lower chance that we’ll slaughter one another in some future civil war. But I do think you lose something. We’re less likely to question authority, whether it’s the authority of an exploitative employer or of the campus diversity coordinator.