Youth: Did You Know?
In this module you will learn what is on the minds of youth around the world. In order to find connection and see where you fit in, this module will give you insight into the things today’s youth have in common: their concerns, tastes and issues.
Throughout the world, young people just like you are growing up to become the next generation of global citizens responsible for the future. Did you know that even though there are many different countries and cultures, almost all young people, everywhere, care about the same things you do?
Throughout history, around the world, most young people are interested in music, fashion, technology, fun, freedom, friends and making a difference. As a group, you care about what you will do in the future, who you are, how you will earn a living and whether or not you will fall in love.
The difference for today’s youth is that never before has there been an opportunity to connect with others across villages, countries, and even continents using the Internet. Today, you have the power to become friends with people who live on the other side of the world. There are many things to learn about people your age in other parts of the world so you can grow up to work with them and live with them.
In many ways you share the same needs and wants and in other ways, you live differently. The more you know about other people your age, the better you will be able to understand yourself. An African proverb says, “If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together.” This section on ‘Youth” will give you facts about how people your age live. Read it with the hope that one day you will be able to travel far and together with youth around the world.
Did You Know …
- Today, 1 in every 5 people on earth is between ages 15 and 24. What this means is that your generation has a lot of power. What you think and what you do as a group matters and will change the world.
- Most young people around the world feel good about their families and friends. Despite the reports of gang activities, violence and rebellion, most youth feel well connected to their families. Families provide lifetime security and a place to call home.
- Compared to all the youth in the world, only a minority of young people end up involved in crime. Most young people around the world are good and stay out of trouble with the law. Often time, those who do get in trouble find that peer pressure was a big influence.
- Almost all young people want to feel independent. Gaining independence from your parents and family is a key trait of all youth. For many this happens when they learn to drive, or are able to travel alone away from the family. Freedom is an essential desire of all young people.
- A growing number of young people spend several hours a day on the Internet. The Internet has changed and will continue to change the world for young people. The more a person can know about how to use the Internet to connect to others, the better. Any chance one has to positively use the Internet for learning and reaching others is an opportunity worth taking.
- The best way to ensure a positive future is to stay in school and get a degree. Over 60% of the world’s youth do not get an education. If you are in school, stay there. If you are not in school, reach out to someone. . You can also use the Internet to learn. People with formal education are more successful.
- Every person has something unique to offer the world. There are not some people who are better than others. Everyone has something special about him or her. The best things you can do is try to figure out what you are good at and not compare yourself to others but become the best you possible.
- Most young people’s parents do not understand what it is like to grow up with so many new technologies. Often for young people, there is tension about what they want to do with their time. People are often afraid of what they don’t know. Your parents did not have access to the things you are discovering today. Be patient with adults and their lack of understanding. But learn as much as you can about new things in the world.
- 75% of the young people in the world grow up in homes that make less than $1,000 per year. Sometimes people think the whole world has it better than they do. It’s not true. Most of the world is poor. Most of the world is not fully developed. Still, people in these places, with little money and few resources are contributing to making the world a better place.
- Today’s youth are interested in technology, television and media delivering music and videos. At the same time, they value family and tradition. With so many new things of interest in the world, it is natural that young people everywhere are consumed with technology and media. This does not mean that other important things do not matter. Most young people value and honor the customs and traditions of their families.
- Young people today want to make the world a better place. They are willing to volunteer. All around the world, young people are engaged in activities and events that are making the world a better place. Sometimes this means helping find a cure for a disease, others it means taking care of the environment. Whatever it is, young people care deeply about a better world.
- Young people are waiting longer to get married. Men are waiting until they are 22-24 years old and men from 25-28 years old. Today people live longer than they used to. This means they can wait to get married and start a family. Throughout the world people are waiting until they discover what their path in life is or until they find someone they really love and want to share a life with before marrying.
- Every year, for people under age 25, there are an estimated 333 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases. HIV is the most dangerous sexually transmitted disease, but it isn’t the only one. Most youth are anxious and eager to become sexually active. Unprotected sex has dangerous results for youth. Learn as much as you can about the possible consequences.
- Many youth are trying to figure out whether or not they are homosexual. In many places homosexuality is no longer viewed as abnormal. Most young people are coming into an understanding of their sexuality and around the world many youth are discovering they are homosexual. This is never easy and while in some places, being gay is still thought of as wrong, we know now that it is a biological fact that some people are homosexual.
- Most girls report wanting to wait to have sex until they feel like they are in love. Both boys and girls should be sensitive of the desires and needs of one another, never forcing someone to do what they are not ready for.
- Youth groups all over the world bring together young people who are working together to make the world a better place. You can belong to a worldwide youth group from anywhere in the world. These groups connect young people through networks like this one. Later in this section, you will learn what is available.
- Young people from wealthy families are not likely to be happier than those from poor families. Just because someone has money, access to technology, new cars and clothes, it does not make them happier or better than other kids. All youth struggle with wanting to feel valued for who they are.
- Mobile learning is becoming a new way of education throughout the world. More and more young people are learning on the Internet alongside their schooling You no longer need a school to learn and online classes are on the rise all over the world. This will continue to be the way of the future and it will open doors to young people all over the world.
- The number one need of all youth is the need to belong, followed by the need to be important. What matters most to all young people is that they are accepted for who they are and belong to the group based on that acceptance. Every youth wants to feel important. So it doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have, all youth feel the same way no matter where they live.
- The Internet is the most valuable tool for youth. Learning how to use it for good and for success is a key to the future of the young people. If you know how to use the computer and as many things about the computer as possible, your chances for success in the future are better as everything becomes more accessible by Internet.
- More young people today report to being interested in spirituality and less interested in following their traditional family religion. Most young people are curious about life and death. Like you, they are starting to question the meaning of the universe, who created it and what happens after death. Many young people turn away at first from their family’s religion. It is part of finding yourself. Many return to the family way later. Some find new ways to relate to their spirituality.
- One fourth of all youth who start smoking and continue to smoke for the rest of their lives will die from smoking. Smoking is a highly addictive behavior that most youth begin out wanting to be like adults. It’s a bad and dangerous habit. You are better off simply avoiding it altogether.
- Most youth report to feeling positive and optimistic about the future. While teen suicide is a reality around the world, it is not the norm for young people to feel negative or hopeless about the future. Most kids across the globe feel like the world has something good in store for them.