Are young people worse off today than previous generations?

As I spent time speaking about the sick condition of this world with my granddad and how the young people of the world were caught up in it, I started to think about whether the youth of today are worse off than previous generations.

The response to this would never be straightforward, because of the significant changes that have taken place from generation to generation.  In many ways, young people are not worse off today than previous generations, yet in many ways, they are.

With the constant increase in knowledge over time, there have been numerous developments in travel, methods of communication and other areas of our everyday lives.  In fact, many of these changes and developments have taken place, because of the revolutionary thing called technology.

The use of technology allows us to complete a number of tasks using faster, simpler and more efficient methods.  It is now easier for us to communicate with other individuals from around the globe  than ever before, leading to an increase in opportunities.  The Internet gives us easy access to an ocean of information and there is entertainment in abundance with access to televisions, computers, games consoles and mobile phones.

Image by blickpixel and used under Creative Commons License.
Image by blickpixel and used under Creative Commons License.

In many ways, technology means that we have a lot more variety than the young people of previous generations, as there is so much at our fingertips.  You could say that we’ve been privileged and spoilt for choice.  However, this also comes with a price.

Technology can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.  It comes with a whole set of new problems that generations before us did not have to contend with.  There are the issues of sexting, hacking and cyber bullying, amongst others.

The ease of cyber communication has also messed up the ability for many young people to physically communicate with others, whilst the obsession with gadgets has dampened the imagination of some young individuals.  Instead of creating new games or creating scenarios with their dolls, they would rather play around with an iPad or XBox.

The divide in class – which is continuing to widen due to the economy and actions of the Conservative government – has had a very negative effect on the young people of this generation.  It has led to an increase in disruptive youth who are trying to gain the same sort of status or earnings as the class above them.  This also leads to lawlessness, knife crime and gun crime.

This is also a generation of young people who have grown up amongst the constant reports of gang culture and the issues that come with that, particularly violent crime and involvement with drugs.  They will be drawn into this, as they mimic the actions of others before them and try to gain their social standings.

Photo by cheifyc and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo by cheifyc and used under Creative Commons License.

It does not help that there is a blatant lack of disrespect for life and authority.  This effects all young people, whether they are embroiled in “gang culture” or not, because a life could be taken for the silliest little thing.  Respect is something that has become extremely distorted in our society, specifically among the young generation.

The issues regarding economy and finance are also major factors in making young people worse off today than previous generations.  Those going to university now have to pay a large fee and leave in a pile of debt, unlike previous generations who were able to attend university for free.  And to make matters worse, there is a constant push for young people to attend university, which will lead to debt, without there even being a promise of a job afterwards.

Graduates struggle to find work like the many other unemployed young individuals and when they do eventually find work, many of them are forced to work in menial jobs with low pay and the unlikelihood of promotion.  In fact, an older individual I was speaking to told me that it is a lot harder for young people to find work now than when they were younger.

The struggle to find well paid work combined with the soaring house prices also means that this young generation will struggle to purchase a property in the future, which I think is unfair and unacceptable.

All of these issues do not help with the issue of increased pressure in our society, as we live in a time that is extremely competitive.  This pressure, mixed in with the points I raised earlier, has led to an increase in mental health problems among young people, including stress, self-harm and suicide.  It is also not helped with the constant images being pushed down our throats by the media, which affects the self-esteem of so many young individuals and leads to a number of body issues.

Image by johnhain and used under Creative Commons License.
Image by johnhain and used under Creative Commons License.

There are many different obstacles facing young people, and it would seem that they are worse off than previous generations, despite the increases in technology and all that comes with it.

Young people are facing issues left, right and centre in a sick world that shows no signs of getting better.  They are fighting to get ahead, which does not always lead to positive results.  Their parents are striving to give them the best possible life, which leads to an increase in working hours and a decrease in family time, which also has an adverse effect on young people.

However, we need to find a way to make the best out of a bad situation and rectify some of these problems.  It is just about finding the most effective ways to do this.  How do you think we can make the young generation better off?

6 thoughts on “Are young people worse off today than previous generations?

  1. Leigh-Ann November 3, 2014 / 23:15

    I have thought about this issue too and it seems as though what young people need at this point is guidance! The sad thing is that parents are way too busy earning a living, which makes it harder for the youth to stay grounded.

    Technology is great however it’s the content that’s causing the corruption. If only we had more positive and empowering messages out there and less of the Nicki Minaj music videos i’m sure this would make a change.

    Also, there are other influential young people doing good out there who need more recognition!

    Great post!

    • Shaniqua Marie November 4, 2014 / 16:40

      Thank you. I really appreciate your feedback, it means a lot.

  2. Shaniqua Marie November 5, 2014 / 00:46

    Reblogged this on Inside My Head and commented:

    We live in such a sick world and it shows no signs of getting any better. However, what is really sad is that the young people of this generation seem to be worse off than previous generations, and I didn’t even realise due to all of the materialistic developments.

  3. mullamoda November 9, 2014 / 13:46

    I’m not sure that all young people are particularly worse off, I think that a lot of them just lack direction in a world where there are many paths to choose from. My dad grew up walking for miles to spend all day working on a cocoa farm and then back home to study in the evening. Through hard work and determination he is now a surgeon. I would never dream of saying that I was worse off than him, my challenges were just of a different kind.

    • Shaniqua Marie November 9, 2014 / 22:54

      I totally understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming. A lot of them do lack direction and our challenges are of a different kind, but this means that we are worse off in different ways. We are better off when it comes to material things, but I think that we can be lacking on the more emotional and social front.

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