Everyone has once been young. But everybody hasn't gone through this
difficult period in life the same way. Which possibilities and living conditions
have teenagers nowadays?
Some people think that you leave childhood when you become a teenager, and
that you are still young up in your twenties. I don't think there are exact
limits that tell you whether you are young or old. According to christian
tradition one is considered adult after the confirmation, but I wouldn't call
fifteen year-olds adults. At that age, they're still not ready to handle the
consequences of their own actions. When you are eighteen, you are considered an
independent individual, and have all juridical rights, such as driving a car and
the right to vote. You are also bound to serve in the military. Nevertheless,
one can't buy spirits before the age of twenty-one is achieved.
Now, more than ever, fashion seem to dominate the youth's everyday. Perhaps
the reason is that they feel insecure and think that the "right" clothes will
give them a feeling of being accepted by the group. This phenomen has a negative
side. What if a pupil can't afford to buy these clothes? Will he or she be
excluded from the gang? Some schools in various countries have tried to solve
this problem. They have introduced a rule that allows pupils to go at school
only if they are dressed in a specific school-uniform. But many students don't
like these uniforms. They want to decide for themselves how to dress.
During the last years it has become more usual for parents to divorce. Some
people think that this conflict may have a positiv effect on kids, because the
children get a bigger family to hold on to. Others think the opposite. But it is
obvious that parental separation can harm or ruin many childhoods. I don't think
it is healthy for the kids if they feel dragged between their mother and father,
and perhaps it is even worse if the child is allowed to choose which parent to
live with. In Norway, children above twelve years have the possibility to make
their own choice.
When youngsters today seek entertainment, he or she has a tendecy to drop
down in front of a television set. This is not very constructive, because it
leads to passivity. In the past, kids used to tell stories to each other and
play games, both inside the house and out in the streets. I think that was a
more developing way of entertainment. One can already see the results of the
television's influence. Young people are getting more violent as the movies
today contain a lot of violence. There are exceptions, though. Many teenagers
are members of athletic assosiations, and this is a solid counterweight against
bad television influence.
Another and perhaps just as frightening problem in the big cities is that
drug abuse among youngsters appears more and more frequently, and that several
young lifes are ruined because of this. Increasing juvenile crime may be a
result. The authorities have difficulties finding the solution to these problems.
The abuse of drugs or alcohol may start harmlessly with a beer or two at an
early age, often because of insecurity or because of a negative gang mentalitity.
Young people want to show off and in this way perhaps feel more secure and
But being young is also positive. At this age, you haven't got the
responsibility you get when you get older. That is why we like to enjoy
ourselves while we can, because later in life we might never have the chance!