What's Buggin' Ya?

Forget yesteryear’s “whatever” attitude. Today’s teens care about what’s going on in the world. We’ve done our homework, and what we learned is that, sure, kids worry about which jeans to wear, who’s crushing on whom and next weekend’s big game. But the issues that really weigh on your mind add up to some pretty hefty stuff. Check it out.…

You Love Mama Earth
Teenagers worldwide are acutely aware of global issues, particularly those affecting our environment. In a recent study, a whopping 72 percent of teens surveyed understand that global warming is a serious problem. Still, 58 percent of teens don’t consider themselves “environmentalists.” Even so, another study of kids from 13 different countries reveals an “activist attitude,” and the No. 1 viewpoint, held by six of ten global teens is this: “I would fight for a cause I believe in.” So what’s stopping you? We all share one planet -- let’s do what we can to protect her.

You Want Good Grades
You might say, “Ugh,” when it’s time to get up for school in the a.m., but education remains important to most teens. A 2008 Australian study showed that more young adults are finishing high school and seeking college -- and making the grade gives teens around the world the most pressure. In the United States, one in three teens sees science and technology as the most important subjects in school for preparing themselves to deal with the global economy, and 38 percent wish their schools had more up-to-date technology. Topping the list of future expectations for eight out of thirteen global teens? Being rich, financially secure or better off than their parents.

You’re Sick of Bullies
Spending an average of 11 hours a week online, teens are “superconnectors,” constantly engaged in a virtual world. A creative outlet, yes, but cyberspace also provides a platform for kids to pick on each other. Sixteen percent of U.S. teens report having been victims of cyberbullying. Whether it’s derogatory postings, e-mail rumors or IM harassing, online bullying is seen as a greater threat than traditional bullying by nearly one-third of teens. One study shows the primary online perpetrators and victims are girls: A third of girls report being bullied, compared to 10 percent of boys; 17 percent of girls say they had bullied others, while 10 percent of boys admit to it. And researchers believe these numbers are even higher, as many incidents go unreported.

You Have Mixed Feelings
In the 1990s, teens were optimistic about their world. But by 2006, this took a turn as personal safety became a major worry, with 62 percent of kids concerned about terrorism and war, and only 14 percent of global teens confident that the world is becoming a better place. Overall, though, 21st-century teenagers remain positive -- a passionate and determined generation of young people who believe in themselves and their abilities. Willing to tackle difficult problems, today’s savvy teens recognize the important role technology plays in the future. And in their worldwide social networks, equality abounds with an increased intrapersonal and global understanding. Peace out!

by Kim Childress