Are The Kids Really All Right?

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Want some optimistic news when it comes to future generations?  In the New York Times Magazine article The Kids Are More Than All Right”, author Tara Parker-Pope claims:

“Every few years, parents find new reasons to worry about their teenagers. And while there is no question that some kids continue to experiment with sex and substance abuse, the latest data point to something perhaps more surprising: the current generation is, well, a bit boring when it comes to bad behavior.” 

The article goes onto explain that when it comes to marijuana and other drugs, use amongst teens has declined.  It also says that less teens are engaging in drinking, smoking and premarital sex like previous generations.  The trends are positive and as a youth worker and parent it made me smile, until Parker-Pope’s last paragraph:

“Nobody knows exactly why sex and drug use has declined among teenagers, but there are a number of compelling possibilities that may have contributed.”

She goes on to suggest that the rise in drinking age, education in regards to HIV/AIDS, amongst other changes could contribute to the decline in bad behavior; however, there is no certainty.  It got me thinking:

If teens aren’t drinking, smoking and having sex as much as previous generations, then they have to be doing something else, right?

I don’t want to be skeptical of good behavior, but I began to wonder.  Are they just more morally sound or are we missing something?  Because, I still hear of teens drinking and engaging in sexual activity, but then again I haven’t tracked the data myself.  Maybe recreational drug use has gone down because teens are spending more time online, socializing through Facebook and Twitter.  Maybe teens are looking at more porn instead of engaging in sex.  Maybe teens are glued to Call of Duty or World of War Craft instead of a little weed?  Maybe they are just saying, “No” more and engaging in positive harmless activities.  Maybe I’m just digging deeper than I should and should be happy with the data.  What do you think?

Is something replacing drugs, alcohol and sex or am I just skeptical?  Share your thoughts