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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Teens don't want to work, drive, have sex with a real-life person

Not long ago, teen-age boys dreamed of buying a car and "roaring away from school during lunch period, with a girl riding shotgun, on our way to Del Taco," writes Rob Henderson in The Free Press. He and his friends got part-time jobs to afford junker cars.

Now, teen-agers are reluctant to take risks, physical or emotional, he writes. This generation is much less likely to get drivers' licenses, work or have non-virtual sex.

Young people are having less sex, and viewing more online porn, he writes. Almost 30 percent of males under 30 said they hadn't had sex in the past year, "a figure that tripled between 2008 and 2018."

Depression and anxiety has soared among young people, starting before the pandemic, writes Jonathan Haidt. Many more young people agree with statements such as: “Sometimes I think I am no good at all” and “I feel that my life is not very useful."

"Perhaps some risk and even a bit of danger is necessary to cultivate a sense of vitality and self-esteem," Henderson concludes.

The pandemic led to "a huge decline in high school students having sex," according to a 2021 government survey, reports AP's Mike Stobbe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzes risky youth behaviors, including smoking, drinking, having sex and carrying guns, every two years.

About three decades ago, more than half of teens said they'd had sex, according to a large government survey conducted every two years. By 2019, the share was 38%. In 2021, 30% of teens said they had ever had sex. That was the sharpest drop ever recorded by the survey.

Normally, health officials "like to see trends that result in fewer teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections," Stobbe writes. But they're worried the trend reflects social isolation and poor mental health -- not healthy decision making. "Maybe teens are having too little sex," said Laura Lindberg, a Rutgers researcher.

The CDC survey also found a big change in sexual orientation: High schoolers identifying as heterosexual dropped to 75 percent (from 89 percent in 2015), those saying they are lesbian, gay or bisexual rose to 15 percent (from 8 percent) and many more said they were "other" or uncertain.

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