Kids today are in no hurry to grow up.
Teenagers are increasingly less likely to engage in adult activities like drinking alcohol, working jobs, driving or having sex according to research from San Diego State University and Bryn Mawr College published in the peer-reviewed journal Child Development Tuesday.
With smaller families, longer life expectancy and after-school educational activities, today’s 18-year-olds are looking like 15-year-olds once did, according to Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the lead author on the study. She calls it a “slow-life strategy” where parents have fewer children, “but nurture them more carefully.”
The number of teenagers who tried alcohol between 2010 and 2016 dropped to 67% from 93% between 1976 and 1979. And the number that had earned money from working dropped from 76% to 55% over the same period. Teens who had engaged in sexual activity by the end of high school dropped 12% between 1994 and 2016. The declines in adult activities were consistent across demographic groups, including gender, race, socioeconomic status, region, and in both urban and rural areas, suggesting a major shift is taking place.