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Do you think being a teenager today is better/ worse than when you were young?

(46 Posts)
nanna8 Wed 31-Mar-21 03:51:20

I’m inclined to think worse, certainly as regards the job market. Harder to get a house, more pressure in many ways, more violence, more danger from drugs and peer groups. Less freedoms to say what you want and be an individual rather than a conformist? Perhaps, I am not sure on that last one.

TerryM Wed 31-Mar-21 05:15:11

I think much harder. Especially with social media. Teenagers can be bullied online as well as in person. Also ..."cough cough * if I made a dumb mistake with drinking in my youth it wasn't photographed for posterity. Nowadays ....every moment is recorded one way or another .

JennyNotFromTheBlock Wed 31-Mar-21 05:40:22

I think it's much harder. Social media pressure is unbelievable, school curriculum changes and teens are expected to do more at the same amount of time than we had (at least that's what I see from my DGC). Also agree about less freedom to say who you want to be.

Mamardoit Wed 31-Mar-21 05:55:01

It is harder. I agree with TerryM about social media it used to be possible to escape the school/workplace bully but with on line bullying there is no escape.
I'm not sure about the drugs because they were certainly around and I knew people who died from overdosing. Cigarettes are less socially acceptable even amongst the young. It was much easier to get served alcohol in a pub when I was young.
In some ways girls have it easier. More equality at work and more choice. I went to a state comprehensive with girls who had brothers at private school. Parents chose to spend money on their sons because they were future providers whereas the girls would be wives and mothers. I'm sure that happens less now.
Freedom to say what they want. Not sure about that. I think we have to be very careful what we say now.

Sago Wed 31-Mar-21 06:00:32

Social media and peer pressure definitely make life harder for young people now.

However the internet has made the world a lot smaller, I think our young people have a wider sense of the world than we did.
I only knew one black child growing up and the poor girl was something of a novelty at our little primary school, our children have had more diversity.

Our 3 have had wonderful experiences re travel, our youngest gained his degree overseas after working for a year in India and Kygrzstan,
Our middle child worked in Canada one summer and the eldest volunteered at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
I would have loved such opportunities.

All three have had holiday jobs as teenagers and after university have gone straight onto their chosen careers.
I strongly believe that if you want to work you will find a job, not perhaps the one you really want but there is plenty of work out there.

Individuality is now embraced and I’m sure it’s much easier for young people to explore their sexuality.

Regarding freedoms, sadly our freedom of speech is insidiously being taken away, schools and universities are far too woke.

The housing ladder is the toughest, there are some good ISAs around and the banks are giving 95% mortgages again.
Shared ownership schemes should be avoided at all costs and help to buy really only benefits the house builders.

On balance I think our children born 80’s and 90’s had it easier than the teenagers now.
What the future will hold for our grandchildren I really cannot imagine.

It will be interesting to see how the pandemic shapes the future.

Humbertbear Wed 31-Mar-21 07:07:13

Much worse. We had a lot of freedom and were able to go out and about in relative safety. The abundance of grammar schools gave us a good free education. It was easy to get a job - young people now won’t even be able to get Saturday jobs. We bought our house when my husband was only 1 year out of uni. Imagine anyone being able to do that now.

Galaxy Wed 31-Mar-21 07:09:48

I think it's impossible to say, some things are more difficult social media, the impact of porn, the pressure to look a certain way, housing etc but many things are better as sago mentions greater access to the wider world, and I hope a more inclusive society.

Mamardoit Wed 31-Mar-21 07:22:34

It was certainly easier to get jobs. Grammars were great for the 25% ? who got a place. Unfortunately the majority went to secondary moderns.

The housing situation is dire. We need more council houses they were the prefect stepping stone into home ownership for many of us . Too many young families are stuck paying more for a private rental than they would for a mortgage.

kircubbin2000 Wed 31-Mar-21 08:50:09

Probably worse. When I was that age we moved to the country and I wasn't allowed out apart from school. I missed the whole growing up, meeting boys, dances, first drink or smoke and didn't escape until I was 18.
My gs ,now soon a teen lives in a town where feral boys hang about the parks and online dangers lurk with porn and bullying etc.

Gannygangan Wed 31-Mar-21 08:58:55

I'm very pleased I was a teen during the 70s. I had a fabulous time. I was lucky to always have gone abroad regularly and when I hit 17 I was off wandering round the world.

The housing comments are interesting. I vividly remember my father saying he had no idea how youngsters could get a mortgage due to rise in prices and sky high interest rates. That would have been early 1980s.

Also the job situation was tricky as well. Anyone remember Yozzer Hughes and his gizza job?

So there were many issues back in the day. I think there always will be. Life will never be utopia.

But I am very pleased that I didn't have social media to cope with or worries about how I look on an Instagram picture.

No doubt 50 years from now youngsters of today will be asking the same question.

Sarnia Wed 31-Mar-21 09:00:27

I agree with Mamardoit about council housing. A great idea of Margaret Thatcher to give council house tenants the chance to buy their homes but she should have made it law that the cash the council was receiving from those house sales went directly into building new council houses. I live in Surrey and house prices are prohibitive for young, first-time buyers. I think teenagers today have a harder time than I did as a teenager in the 60's. I was satisfied with a lot less than today's teens are. I am pleased social media hadn't been thought of then. Going out and meeting your friends was a much better place to be.

Grammaretto Wed 31-Mar-21 09:10:39

Good post sago
I wouldn't want to be a teenager now. My DGS doesn't like the word. He has just become one.
In my DM's day she said there was no such thing . You went straight from being a child to an adult with no allowances made for those awkward years.
DGS was jumping around my garden the other day like a puppy and then I noticed his voice is breaking.

But hang on are we talking about teenagers or young people in general?
I was growing up in the so-called swinging sixties but there wasn't much money about. We bought woodbine cigarettes in packets of 2 to smoke in the park.
I shared a bed with my sister. Imagine that now! and clothes washing happened when clothes were dirty and replaced when they were in tatters not this continuous insistence on everything sparkly new.

Far more Teenagers go to university now than they did back then.
I hope the new generation can change the world for the better and slow down climate damage. All power to them.

Jaxjacky Wed 31-Mar-21 09:41:56

I think it’s swings and roundabouts. I’d have been grateful for the internet and computers rather than lugging loads of books to and from school/college. Drugs were easily available, particularly heroin, I too knew people who died from overdoses. Violence was around as much, if not more, football riots, armed robberies and beachside brawls, mods and rockers anyone? Contraception was more hush hush, as was most sex education, unwanted pregnancies and enforced marriages far more prevalent. Yes it’s more difficult to buy a house now, maybe we’re moving more to the rental model, the holy grail still seems to be a mortgage, not so in many parts of the world. There was no Childline, more sexual abuse hidden behind family doors, not spoken about, children today are more aware of what’s not right. Increased media again is a double edged sword, we are more informed but more spied upon. I don’t know if it was better or worse, certainly different.

Redhead56 Wed 31-Mar-21 09:47:24

I wanted to go on to college but it was never encouraged. I was told get out and get a job. So I did that’s the way it was we were brought up not allowed ambition. I brought my two up to follow their natural vocation and they did. One went to uni one went to college and they are both successful at what they do.

As a mature adult I fulfilled my dreams of education and was rewarded by it. I was fortunate and determined but not everyone is sadly.

Teenagers now have very challenging times and they have less chance of further education. The fees are so high now and other than going in debt it’s daunting for them what to do. We seem to be driven by results this is constant pressure for teenagers. Not everyone has the ability to aim high so a lot are going to be left behind. It’s very disheartening and even the opportunity of apprenticeship is a competition I believe.

timetogo2016 Wed 31-Mar-21 10:09:04

I think it`s 50/50.
Good for social media/internet etc,bad for housing/bullying/crime of any sort/attitudes towards eachother and others and not much respect even to themselves.
I was a teenager in the 70`s and felt safe,had respect for all.

annodomini Wed 31-Mar-21 10:36:41

A teenager in the 50's hardly knew she was a teenager because the word was not in common currency. I was brought up with my parents' high expectations, so first and foremost I did my homework diligently, achieved good Highers and a University bursary. Most of my friends were expected to go on to University or some other form of Higher Education - and for the most past, they did. Apart from school work, I would walk the dog and enjoyed meeting my friends for a game of tennis. I wasn't much good at it, but could make up a four. In summer we'd play well into the evening and I would ride home on my faithful bike. No-one ever suggested that I wasn't safe going out and about on my own. We could safely use buses to go to the neighbouring town where there were better shops (Woolworths!) and cinemas. In summer we had a wonderful beach and a huge open-air tidal swimming pool, much frequented after school.
. My teenage GC do have a reasonable amount of freedom, but I know that my DiL has a tracker on DGS 2's phone as he has sometimes kept 'undesirable' company. Lockdown has been hard on all of them, though GD(now 18) has a motor bike and her brother has a moped, so they have been able to get about as much as permissible. Public transport is nothing like as easily available to them as it was for me and their leisure activities, like Army Cadets, have been on the back burner. Now exercise opportunities are again opening up and GS, 13, will be able at last to attend tennis coaching on Saturdays.
Now I've thought about it, I did have a good life in my teens - always plenty to do, freedom to do it and no serious qualms about the future. As Harold McMillan said, '(we) never had it so good'.
By the end of the decade, teenagers were to the fore. Elvis, Cliff and - a few years later - the Beatles and their ilk created an audience and a market that had not previously existed.

polnan Wed 31-Mar-21 11:22:24

Sarnia. as I understand Maggie, yes, sell council houses, but I think at the same time she prevented the councils from building and letting more ... hence the Housing Assn. to try to retain some social housing..

mind you, it has never been easy to get a council house, there were never enough,

teens now? I wouldn`t be one now for anything.. we had it much easier.. we can say that the Internet makes life good, but then we abuse it.. looking back at most good things that man has invented, he then misuses. even back to the wheel...

mumof2boys Wed 31-Mar-21 11:31:22

Not only bullying from peers via social media but the constant criticism via social media from the older generation and the constant generalisation of their views as bring woke or snowflake.

I know since time began the older generation has held views of the younger generations but it seems relentless at the moment.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 31-Mar-21 11:37:39

We all look back and think that our young years were far better than those of today's young, don't we?

However, there was less mindless violence in the streets and probably less drugs, or slightly less dangerous drugs about when we were young. Or were there?

I don't envy today's parents who are trying to make pre-teens aware of the dangers of cyber-stalking, drugs, street violence and at the same time trying not to scare their children so silly that they won't be able to cope with being young and having fun.

icanhandthemback Wed 31-Mar-21 11:50:31

I think there are different pressures than we had. However, I do think there is more willingness to give young people a voice, more recognition of anxiety and they have more connection with their friends with the use of phones. There are more drug opportunities about with mixed messages which make it difficult for a young brain to navigate. These things also have downsides and I think we haven't got the balance right yet.
As a young person, growing up with a violent parent, I told a policeman and a GP. My complaints were ignored. Nowadays, with all the safeguarding stuff about, I would like to think a teenager could get help. Similarly with rape by a family member. I listened to the GP tell the person who had taken me to get help that lots of young girls make these things up. I'd like to think that this wouldn't happen these days.

Jillsewing Wed 31-Mar-21 11:52:21

I think it’s just different my parents were so very strict life was difficult parent now are easier but there are other problems for the kids no generation has it all!

Alioop Wed 31-Mar-21 11:53:05

I'm glad I had my teens in the 80s as I would hate to be that age now. They seem to grow up far to quickly now, 13 year olds look like I did at 21, they are far more advanced now than I ever was. Internet has its good and bad points, drugs are a lot easier to get the hold of, bullying and knife crime is horrendous nowadays. Life seemed easier and simpler then and you didn't have so much to have to live up to.

Daisend1 Wed 31-Mar-21 11:58:40

Depends on your expectations .From the day I left school, at fifteen and the months to follow I learned life was not going to be handed me on a 'silver plate' and the only way to fulfil my ambitions was 'get off my backside' and go for it.I 'grew up' overnight Given the choice would rather be a teen in todays world with the opportunities of the 21C than when I was a teen in the years following six years of war.

NotANana Wed 31-Mar-21 12:04:16

I became a teenager in 1970. At the time, I thought it was hell, but looking back, Im not so sure.

The hormonal rollercoaster was probably the similar (except that the "Tampax lady" did a talk so you knew - sort of- what to expect. The Meno Maven hasn't told me anything about menopause, I've done it all by myself and cold turkey too!)

I'm glad there were no camera/smartphones around to record some of the stupid things I computers meant no on-line bullying, sexting etc.

I left home at the age of 16 and married at 19. Nowadays, we'd say that was too young. (But I am still married to the same man, so was it really?)

We had the keys to our first home (and mortgage to match) the following year.

Modern young people seem to be treated as children for far longer than I was. And I do worry about how they will ever be able to afford a home of their own, either rented or bought.

muse Wed 31-Mar-21 12:18:20

So much happens in the teenage years (13-19) as these posts are showing. From school (education and friendships) through to work, marriage and having children.

I was a teenager in the 1960s. I can't say it was easy for me then than it is for my granddaughter who is a teenager (16) now. Like her, I found being a teenager emotionally very difficult. The pressures I had were different but just as hard to cope with.
I agree with Jaxjacky. There's more support for today's teenagers.

Redhead56. You say children have less chance now for further education but in the early 1960s, only 4% of school leavers went to university, rising to around 14% by the end of the 1970s. Despite the fees etc more children (nearly 50%) are going to university these days. My 16 year old granddaughter has chosen not to go straight to university but is off to college this September and then onto an apprenticeship. I'd say there are far more opportunities for apprenticeships for both girls and boys these days.