A discussion of issues facing today’s youngsters.
Everyone has once been young. But everybody hasn’t gone through this difficult period in life the same way. Which possibilities and living conditions have teenagers nowadays? Some people think that you leave childhood when you become a teenager, and that you are still young up in your twenties. I don’t think there are exact limits that tell you whether you are young or old. According to christian tradition one is considered adult after the confirmation, but I wouldn’t call fifteen year-olds adults. At that age, they’re still not ready to handle the consequences of their own actions. When you are eighteen, you are considered an independent individual, and have all juridical rights, such as driving a car and the right to vote. You are also bound to serve in the military. Nevertheless, one can’t buy spirits before the age of twenty-one is achieved. Now, more than ever, fashion seem to dominate the youth’s everyday. Perhaps the reason is that they feel insecure and think that the “right” clothes will give them a feeling of being accepted by the group. This phenomen has a negative side. What if a pupil can’t afford to buy these clothes? Will he or she be excluded from the gang? Some schools in various countries have tried to solve this problem. They have introduced a rule that allows pupils to go at school only if they are dressed in a specific school-uniform. But many students don’t like these uniforms. They want to decide for themselves how to dress. During the last years it has become more usual for parents to divorce. Some people think that this conflict may have a positiv effect on kids, because the children get a bigger family to hold on to. Others think the opposite. But it is obvious that parental separation can harm or ruin many childhoods. I don’t think it is healthy for the kids if they feel dragged between their mother and father, and perhaps it is even worse if the child is allowed to choose which parent to live with. In Norway, children above twelve years have the possibility to make their own choice. When youngsters today seek entertainment, he or she has a tendecy to drop down in front of a television set. This is not very constructive, because it leads to passivity. In the past, kids used to tell stories to each other and play games, both inside the house and out in the streets. I think that was a more developing way of entertainment. One can already see the results of the television’s influence. Young people are getting more violent as the movies today contain a lot of violence. There are exceptions, though. Many teenagers are members of athletic assosiations, and this is a solid counterweight against bad television influence. Another and perhaps just as frightening problem in the big cities is that drug abuse among youngsters appears more and more frequently, and that several young lifes are ruined because of this. Increasing juvenile crime may be a result. The authorities have difficulties finding the solution to these problems. The abuse of drugs or alcohol may start harmlessly with a beer or two at an early age, often because of insecurity or because of a negative gang mentalitity. Young people want to show off and in this way perhaps feel more secure and “grown up”. But being young is also positive. At this age, you haven’t got the responsibility you get when you get older. That is why we like to enjoy ourselves while we can, because later in life we might never have the chance!