Back in August, UnHerd featured the work of Jean Twenge – whose research has uncovered some astonishingly rapid changes in the behaviour of US teenagers. Compared to previous generations of young people — ‘Generation X’ and the ‘Millennials’ — the ‘Post-millennials’ are much less likely to get drunk, get pregnant or be involved in a car accident.
On the other hand, they’re also less likely to go out to meet friends or to get a weekend or holiday job.
These findings are based on American data, but similar patterns have also been observed in other comparable countries. Today, the BBC reports that the number of British 13 to 15 year olds with a part-time job has fallen by a fifth in just five years.
The article considers various explanations — including pressure to study harder for exams. However, Jean Twenge’s research showed that American teenagers are not spending any more time studying. Rather she believes that it is smartphone use that is changing young people’s behaviour — and negatively effecting their mental health.
Whatever or not this is correct, the shift in youth culture is not limited to America — and it wouldn’t be surprising if the cause were equally international.