- Term Papers and Free Essays

Top 10 Fears Of Today's Youth

Essay by   •  December 4, 2010  •  1,888 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,342 Views

Essay Preview: Top 10 Fears Of Today's Youth

Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

In this paper, I look at the 10 greatest fears of our young people.

Fear # 10: "I will never have a happy marriage and family."

A majority of youths do not believe they will have an intact and "good" family when they reach adulthood. One of the greatest desires for their future is a good home life. Among the youths we surveyed, 73 percent believe that children of divorced parents have more problems than children of non-divorced parents.

Among their clearly articulated desires, having one marriage partner for life was near the top. And most of the youths we surveyed expressed a deep need to have a spouse and children within a few years. But they fear that the trends of culture mean that very few of them will see these desires fulfilled.

Fear # 9: "Someone I know or love will die of AIDS (maybe me!)."

For the teens of today, AIDS is not some distant problem known only through the evening news. To the contrary, the disease is ever-present in the minds of these young people. And though a superficial discussion may not uncover this fear, our interviews confirmed their numerous concerns about the disease.

The American Board of Family Practice discovered this fear when asking youths to cite their greatest concerns for the future. Among the top five concerns was the fear of AIDS, specifically someone close to them getting AIDS.

Not only are the youths fearful of AIDS for the future of their nation and world, they fear the disease infecting someone in their families. Almost every teenager we surveyed had knowledge of someone in his or her school, church, neighborhood, or community getting the dreaded disease. For this generation, AIDS is a real and present danger getting ever closer to them and their families.

I remember well a discussion with a 17-year-old male who seemed extremely agitated about AIDS.

"I've got this buddy that really gets around. I bet he's had sex with 10 to 12 girls in the past year," the young man commented. "What are the chances that he's been infected? How soon before he notices something is wrong? Can he be tested for AIDS? If he has it, how long before he dies?"

I had little doubt of the identity of the young man's "friend." He was sitting across from me in the interview.

Fear # 8: "I feel like I have to have sex to be accepted."

This fear was particularly prevalent among the female teenagers, where two-thirds of the adolescent girls feared the pressure to have sex. The pressure came from different sources, but the most commonly mentioned source was boyfriends or dates. But other sources of pressure were almost as great.

These youths were perceptive enough to realize that the media contributed to an ethos which says premarital sex is fun, good and expected. Indeed the media have convinced many parents, politicians, and educators that premarital teen sex is inevitable. These adults therefore urge "safe sex" rather than abstinence.

Sexual pressure is not limited to young females. Over one-half of the male teenagers cited sexual pressure as one of their greatest fears. Repeatedly in focus groups, I heard both boys and girls cry out for boundaries from the adult world. But most of the teens reported a dearth of such guidelines and discipline in their homes, schools, and even their churches.

The facts about young people and sex seem to confirm the fears of teens. The average age for first-time intercourse for girls is 15; the boys' average is 14. Three-fourths of them will have sex by their senior year of high school. Forty percent of 14-year-old girls today will become pregnant at least once before they turn twenty years old.

Youths further fear sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Just 20 years ago there were only four known types of STDs. Today there are over 30. Mostyoung peopletoday know a friend or acquaintance who has had an STD.

Fear # 7: "I cannot find time to do everything."

The youths of today may be the busiest generation in America's history. Life is getting exceedingly complicated for them. They are busier than ever with extracurricular activities, community involvement, work, and responsibilities at home, especially if both parents work.

One of the key reasons teens are so busy is that they have so many choices. They have more choices in sports, more choices in recreation, more choices in school, and even more choices in church. But these teens have shown little discernment in making choices. Often they refuse to say "no" to any option; the result is frustration and sometimes burnout.

One 14-year-old girl explained it this way: "Mom wants me to be involved in a lot of activities at school. She wants me to take college prep courses. And of course she wants me to be involved in church. But she works a lot, so I have to clean house, cook, and baby-sit." I asked this girl how she felt right now. Her response was concise but clear: "Tired, real tired."

Fear # 6: "I can't tell right from wrong."

One of the distinguishing features of youths today is their inability to tell right from wrong. And many of them know they do not know. Fifty-six percent of female teens and 61 percent of male teens think their generation has a serious problem because they have no sense of right and wrong.

Teenagers are confused. Not only do the majority of them admit that they have difficulty discerning right from wrong; they also say that such concepts as right and wrong are elusive and situational. With this type of mindset, what then can we anticipate from this generation as they lead us in the twenty-first century?

Fear # 5: "Peer pressure scares me."

Peer pressure is nothing new. Every generation faces challenges and pressures from people whom they loosely identify as friends. Paul is a 14-year-old from Tennessee. His peers see him as a likeable and friendly person. Most of them do not see Paul as one who would yield to peer pressure for wrongful acts.

"I guess I have kept my nose clean," Paul responds. "Other than some minor things, I've never really been in trouble." One of the girls in the focus group asks Paul if it is easy to say "no" to his friends when they try



Download as:   txt (10.9 Kb)   pdf (133 Kb)   docx (13.8 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). Top 10 Fears Of Today's Youth. Retrieved 12, 2010, from's-Youth/17251.html

"Top 10 Fears Of Today's Youth" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <'s-Youth/17251.html>.

"Top 10 Fears Of Today's Youth.", 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <'s-Youth/17251.html>.

"Top 10 Fears Of Today's Youth." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.'s-Youth/17251.html.