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Today’s teens reject cooler-than-thou Gen X credo

The image of today's teen as self-absorbed and uncaring, if it still persists as a popular notion in the adult media world, appears to be further and further from the truth. In fact, there's every reason to believe that today's young...
January 1, 1999

The image of today’s teen as self-absorbed and uncaring, if it still persists as a popular notion in the adult media world, appears to be further and further from the truth. In fact, there’s every reason to believe that today’s young Americans are more socially and environmentally aware than ever before, according to a recent study by Roper Starch, conducted on behalf of Philidelphia-based Primedia.

The survey, which subjected some 3,000 students across the U.S. ages 12 to 19 to intense questionnaires, found that today’s teens see themselves as technology-driven, environmentally sensitive and deeply concerned about moral values. The study suggests that adolescents today strongly reject the ‘too cool to care’ credo of the Generation X teens that preceded them, and that in fact, they care about family life, community and education, and they embrace traditional family values. ‘Students today are independent thinkers, they believe in acceptance of responsibility and they stress the value of education and the significance of family,’ says Joan Chiaramonte, VP of Roper Starch Worldwide.

The survey also revealed a healthy skepticism of government and the media among teens. More than half of them (three out of five) blame the federal government and half blame the media as the groups most responsible for society’s ills. However, the survey’s participants also see themselves (two out of three) as the group most responsible for problems at school. Teens also chose themselves as the group most likely to improve the future of society (three out of five) and school (two out of five).

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