Young people and what’s on their minds

Young people and what’s on their minds

Each year Mission Australia does a survey of young Australians (aged 11 – 24) and what seems to be concerning them. It’s always interesting to have a look at and usually it’s pretty encouraging too.

Toby Hall, chief executive officer of Mission Australia, makes some comments on their website about this report. Here is some of what stood out for me in what he had to say:

‘More than 45,000 young people, aged between 11 and 24, took part in the poll this year. The results show that while young Australians are facing a range of serious issues, when it comes to their priorities and values, they are also incredibly well-balanced.

Time and time again our survey shows that young people place chief importance on family, friends and close relationships.

They’re not just “generation Y with iPods”. Their close connection with family and friends, the people they admire (entertainers with consciences such as Angelina Jolie) and their high level of volunteering, flies in the face of media stereotypes of young people as shallow and materialistic.’

Pete’s comment: I love hearing this. And I’ve gota say I’m not surprised. Over and over again this is what young people tell me.

‘While body image, drugs and family conflict are the biggest worries for 11- to 24-year-olds – with one-in-four regarding each as of major concern – it’s drugs that are increasingly weighing on their minds. Concern about drugs was not a top-three issue in 2007.’

Pete’s comment: I find it Interesting that ‘drugs’ are a worry. Drugs aren’t like climate change where it is happening to us, (and yes we can change it but it take time), …drugs require our active participation at any given moment, drug use is an action on our part. Sometimes a choice, always a response; a person’s response to their own needs and desires intersecting with the pressures and influences of the world.

‘The other standout result from the survey this year is the degree to which young people are worried about their personal safety…

…The emergence of personal safety as a major concern carries broader repercussions. Research shows that when trust breaks down, it helps usher in a range of negative social and economic outcomes for both individuals and communities…

…If you’re afraid of your community, how do you get involved in local activities?’

Pete’s comment: This, I think, is important stuff. And for me, a reason why we need to continue to look at ways of helping people feel part of something…family, community, neighbourhood…ESPECIALLY the guys doing some of the more annoying (at times destructive) stuff. People are either inside WITH us or outside AGAINST us. Inside always seems like a better option to me.

‘The final take-out of the survey is that overall young Australians are well placed to tackle the issues affecting their transition from youth to adulthood.’

Pete’s comment: Good to hear. Onward and upward.

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