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NEWS5 January 2018

Teenagers’ future view

News Trends UK Youth

UK – Despite exam stress, mental health issues and wanting to able to vote, today’s 16 and 17 year olds mostly feel positive about their future and their main goal in life is having a job they enjoy, according to research commissioned by the National Citizen Service (NCS).

The Welcome to Our World – Life as a teen in 2017 report gives a detailed view of the thinking of today’s older teenagers covering everything from their sexuality, family and their aspirations.

For instance, 59% think the idea of people being either straight or gay is out of date, with only 63% identifying as 100% straight.

In terms of their family, 43% think their parents or guardians understand what life is life for people their age, 87% feel close to their family and 24% say their parents are the biggest role models in their lives.

Just less than half ( 44%) of teens trust their mums, compared with 6% who trust their dads – 17% trust their friends.

Although there is greater awareness of mental health issues than for previous generations, it is still a significant problem for today’s teenagers. More than a third ( 37%) have experienced a mental health problem with girls ( 47%) suffering more than boys ( 27%).

Teenagers appear to live less of a virtual life than we might think. More than three quarters ( 77%) talk in person with their friends at least once a day. Snapchat is the second most popular form of communication.

And in terms of the freedom they covet, the top three things are: being able to learn to drive; having their own bank account; and voting in an election.

ICM Unlimited carried out the research which involved a year’s worth of polls every other month among 1,000 nationally representative 16 and 17 year olds. The surveys covered topics including friendship, rebellion and stress and were carried out between August 2016 and June 2017.

To give teenagers a voice, ICM developed a participatory research method which involved a small team of teen consultants to help them shape each questionnaire. The consultants were paid London Living Wage and developed skills to put on their CV.

Every other month, ICM also surveyed 2,000 nationally representative adults ( 18+) and this data meant NCS could compare the views of teenagers and adults.