- Parents are more risk-averse, children have a more limited experience of life. So how do children gain natural independence – now programmes required to be developed to allow first steps to be taken safely.
- Emotional development – less stable/incomplete families; more stress = less able to develop relationships/emotional attachments. Increasing materialism – children well provided for materially, but more stressed parents.
- Adulthood related to economic independence – is taking longer these days.
- Physical maturity happened earlier … increasingly open attitude to sex in the media puts more pressure on young people to become sexually active.
- Communities used to be closer knit, each person known well. Though it ‘labelled’ people, gave a measure of security AND control – 1980s – Margaret Thatcher “there is no such thing as society, only the individuals who compose them”. People became more mobile – breaking down community boundaries.
- Media revolution – bombarded of images with little relationships/relevance to their lives, but they identify with the role models/lifestyles offered. Image becomes all consuming – reality becomes ‘boring’ and work required to maintain such a lifestyle = unattractive/unachievable.
- Increasing range of choices – but need money, confidence, knowledge & skills to make choices – few have them but see biggest role models as media workers.
- Encounter social services tend to encourage young people to ‘fit in’ and become wage earning consumers … young people who don’t fit this have few alternatives.
- = Crisis of identity – unprepared to face futures.
Bearing in mind that this is a bit old, and setting up for why youth work is needed, it’s an interesting insight into the changing nature of childhood/youth.
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.