Contrary to popular belief, data shows teenagers are having LESS sex

Yes moms, you read that headline right! New data published by The New York Times shows that while kids do continue to engage in activities involving sex and drugs or alcohol, the current generation is actually better behaved than that of their parents.

Several different statistics acquired by the University of Michigan’s Monitoring The Future survey show that adolescents today are becoming more conservative in almost every way, despite popular belief.

 

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They smoke less pot--only about 6.6 percent of high school seniors smoke frequently compared to 9 percent in the 1980’s--and  teenage alcohol use is at a significant low. Only 40 percent of seniors in 2011 had recently consumed alcohol as opposed to 72 percent in 1980.

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But the most shocking number of all? According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of 15 to 17-year-old teenage girls having sex in 2010 was only 27 percent, about 10 percent lower than in 1988. The percentage of boys in the same age group also decreased from 50 to 28 percent. Pretty surprising, especially with all of the controversy surrounding shows like “Teen Mom,” which many believe to  promote teenage pregnanacy and promiscious behavior.

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So what’s the deal? There doesn't seem to be one specific reason. It’s possible that TV shows get a lot of media hype, but have no real influence on the teens that watch them. And there have been many significant changes in the last 30 years, including laws that prohibit underage kids from buying tobacco or alcohol, a growing fear of STDs and an increase of educational sexual health classes in schools. Maybe adolescents are just wising up and making better decisions.

In any case, mothers can take a little comfort in these numbers. Though it might be impossible to stop worrying about the choices your kids are making, chances are they are doing just fine on their own.

Why do you think teens are behaving more conservatively these days?

Image via Michi003/flickr