Kamis, 29 September 2016

Are Today’s Teens Taking Fewer Risks?

Are Today’s Teens Taking Fewer Risks?

Today's Teens Taking Fewer Risks
The latest numbers might surprise you.
Are kids having more sex than years prior?
Are kids smoking more or less pot?
What about texting and driving?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) just released their brand-new Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a study released every other year asking teenagers about risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, fighting at school, sexual activity…and even if they wear a seatbelt. The report breaks the numbers down by state, race or grade, as well as providing national averages.
Here’s a few highlights:
• 41 percent of high school students have had sexual intercourse (58 percent of seniors).
• 30 percent of high school students are currently sexually active (46 percent of seniors)
• 39 percent of high school students have ever used marijuana (50 percent of seniors)
• 22 percent of high school students are current users of marijuana (28 percent of seniors)
• 42 percent of high school students have texted while driving a car in the last 30 days (61 percent of seniors)
The report breaks down this data by state. So, curious as I was about the four states that allow recreational marijuana use, I immediately turned to the specific page (page 104) where it listed the states, and of the 37 states that provided specific states results…Washington and Oregon didn’t even participate, and Colorado didn’t provide specific numbers. Alaska was the only one of the four “blazing up” states included in the study.
So back to my opening questions…are kids doing more or less risky behaviors?
Texting while driving? The percentage hasn’t changed even one point in the last five years.
Marijuana use? Down 2 percent (statistically insignificant) since the previous report, and waaaaaaay better than the late ’90s when it was up 8 percent compared to now (again, but no Washington, Oregon or Colorado numbers). Most other studies show marijuana use remaining steady, despite the softening of perceived risks. The National Institute on Drug Abuse shows the numbers to be a little lower (e.g. they show 21 percent of seniors using marijuana in the last 30 days compared to the CDC who shows 28 percent).
Sexual activity? The numbers of high school kids who ever had sex (41 percent) is the lowest ever reported, down 5 percent from the previous report, and down 13 percent since 1991. The 5 percent drop is great (even though the survey is supposed to be accurate plus or minus 5 percent…it’s a significant drop). As for the drop prior to that…there’s more to that story. I researched that in detail four years ago when this report was released. (Is there a chance today’s parents are finally engaging in more than just one talk?)
So are young people actually having less sex? Well…define young people. Millennials (20- to 34-year-olds) are actually 10 percent more likely to “hook up” than past generations (see my break down of those numbers in this post).
I encourage you to take a quick peek at this CDC YRBS report sometime this week. I always like to browse through it, looking at marijuana use, tobacco use and sexual activity. The numbers are fascinating and provide a pretty accurate picture of how common some of these risky behaviors are.
The CDC also provides a handy tool called YOUTH ONLINE which allows you to pull up custom reports on any of this data from 1991 to 2015. In other words, you can choose to look at how many kids currently use marijuana (that means they have used it in the last 30 days) from 1991 to now, by grade, by state (except the three states you want to see), or nationally.
Take a peek and tell me your thoughts.
Do any of these numbers surprise you?  
This article originally appeared here.
Jonathan McKee is the president of The Source for Youth Ministry,is the author of twenty books including the brand new 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; More Than Just the Talk; Sex Matters; The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of 20 books including the brand new 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid, More Than Just the Talk, Sex Matters, Connect, the 10-Minute Talks series, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers and The Guy's Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket. Jonathan speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources on TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori and his three kids live in Northern California. JonathanMcKeeWrites.com / Twitter.com/InJonathansHead (see links at bottom of post)

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