What's Happening? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   What's happened to today's kids? This is a question often asked by adults. Most teens respond with a loud groan, a heavy sigh, or rolled eyes, sometimes even a combination of all three. But, if you look closely, you will see that this question does bring up a valid point. There is no doubt that today's youth are different from teens back in the '50s and '60s, and this difference is not just a slight one due to a change in times. If those people walked today's streets and went to our schools, what would they think?

First of all, they would be completely shocked at the lack of ethics found in young people today. There only seems to be a gossamer thread of morality left, if even that much. As a student, I see a lot of cheating going on in school. It's very frustrating to have someone who cheats receive the same grades as someone who actually studies. Yet this is the case in schools across the nation. A recent survey given to college honor-roll students found that 76% of them said they have cheated in school. And these are students who receive A's and B's! Just imagine how much cheating goes on with other students.

Another example of the deterioration of ethics in today's teens is their aversity to hard work. Decades ago, the archetypal role model was someone who worked hard and whose dedication and resilience earned them success. Nowadays, kids want to get rich fast like basketball players who earn millions for shooting hoops. It's not wrong (or bad) to have role models like these, but it shows a difference in values.

People from the '50s and '60s would also be stunned at the use of illegal substances today. Depressing as it may seem, the truth is that many teens use drugs, drink alcohol, and smoke cigarettes. Drug-prevention campaigns have been launched, and adults try to tell kids about the dangers of smoking, but does this really make a difference?

Another dramatic change is how some kids look. The new trend is body piercing and tattooing. Personally, I can't understand why someone would want a piece of metal through their tongue. How is that "cool"? Teens today also enjoy dying their hair unusual colors.

Another significant difference is the use of profanity. Walk down the halls of any high school, you will hear more cursing than you ever thought possible. Is it really necessary to use profanity every other word to get your point across? I don't think so. And it's not just cussing; there is so much vulgar, crude language spoken by some kids. Maybe they use all that bad language to make themselves seem tough. To be friendly, courteous, and open would be wimpy because you're letting people see the real you.

As you can see, there are many differences between young people today and those in the past. To me, these differences represent a deterioration in traditional values and morals. I find it sad that kids are being destroyed by drugs and drinking.

One possible cause for the difference may be that kids aren't sure what is expected of them. Also, issues such as morality, ethics, illegal substance prevention cannot just be taught at home or in school. Instead, I feel that they must be taught and practiced.

Whatever the cause of these problems, we seriously need to address them and try to solve them. If we give up, our society will eventually be without ethics or values. We need to make sure that today's youth know what is wrong and what is right, and what is bad and what is good. Only then can we hope for change. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Jack_Walton said...
Jan. 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm
You hit it right on the nail. Sadly, this is all true, and no one is doing anything to stop it.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback