Adult worries dominate Australian teen life
Australia’s most extensive teen research project, DOLLY Youth Monitor, has revealed a teen generation that is materially well-off and becoming increasingly concerned about safety and their future.
According to the latest DOLLY Youth Monitor research, fears about personal safety are significantly high with 73% of teen girls not feeling safe in their own neighbourhood at night. Results reveal that home affordability ranks as a top five worry among teens, with ‘getting a job’ (43%), ‘being successful’ (44%) and ‘needing to make money’ also topping the list of teen concerns.
The good news is that the number of teens who think drug use is acceptable has dropped, however the acceptability of drinking is up – with 4 in 5 teens (80%) believing it’s acceptable to regularly use alcohol.
Gemma Crisp, editor of DOLLY, said: “Australian teens are financially secure – earning an average of
$76.55 per week – and well-connected, with daily mobile phone and internet use. Yet despite financial and material wealth, traditionally ‘adult’ worries are filtering down to today’s teens – with career, finance and housing as paramount concerns. These concerns are an indication of the pressure teens feel today and the competitive and rapidly moving environment around them.”
“DOLLY Youth Monitor has revealed today’s teens are incredible multi-taskers and are extremely savvy
consumers, but they hold ‘traditional’ values – family, friends and happiness are still the most important
things in their life,” said Ms Crisp.
Over the last 16 years, more than 7,000 boys and girls aged 10-to-17 have participated in DOLLY Youth Monitor. The survey examines every aspect of teen life, with extensive surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews. 600 teens (boys and girls) participated in the latest research investment, conducted over three months.
Key findings in Dolly Youth Monitor 2008 include:
- Teens send and receive an average 7.3 SMS each day (up from 4.5 in 2005).
- Teens recognise the need for support in times of crisis: three out of four say there needs to be more phone help lines and crisis centres.
- Teens are losing their virginity at a later age, however they are experimenting more often.
- 52% of teens believe they are overweight, but are also concerned about fitness.
- Not only concerned about themselves, teens are also worried about their parents, 43% of teens wish their family ate healthier foods and 39% of teens would like their parents to stop smoking.
- More than 50% of girls aged 14-17 participate in social networking via MySpace, Bebo and Facebook, almost a third of those do it every day.
- Four in 10 teens aged 14-17 years old feel ‘the need to reduce stress’.
- 1 in 3 girls don’t feel safe in their own home at night.
- Mum is still No 1, with 71% of teen girls saying they still admire mum the most.
A number of themes were identified as part of the study:
LOVE ME – Family life is still the most important influence on teens, with the family home seen as a safe
haven from the world. The majority of teens feel they have more than enough freedom and just want more
time with their parents.
CONNECT ME – 73% of teens use their mobile phone daily, spending an average $26.10 on calls each
month. Most teens have been given a mobile by their parents – and it’s parents who often pick up the bill.
PROTECT ME – A major concern for teens today is safety. A staggering 73% of teen girls don’t feel safe in
their neighbourhood at night, with 59% of girls not feeling safe walking down their own street alone after
TEACH ME – Teens are enjoying school much more these days than they used to…maybe due to the
declining number of hours spent on homework.
ENTERTAIN ME – Teens today are very technologically focussed: they own and use a huge amount of
different technology items, combining communication and entertainment. One in five have their own
DOLLY is Australia’s biggest-selling teen magazine.