What is it that teens want most? According to the new Boys & Girls Clubs' Youth Report to America 2006 (a survey of more than 146,000 teens nationwide, independently tabulated) teens want a more realistic portrayal of youth in the media, and they want adults to acknowledge the positive contributions of they have made in their communities and to have a greater voice in those communities.
Stated on the press release: "Negative stereotypes of teens in the media can present an inaccurate portrait of America's youth. Broadcasts highlighting teen violence have caused communities to enact restrictive curfew laws, loitering ordinances and increased penalties for youth who commit these acts. Laws are sometimes enacted without consideration for the rights of youth, leaving them feeling powerless and disconnected."
By the numbers:
- More than one-third (36%) of respondents believe that to improve their relationships, adults should listen more.
- Close to half of teens surveyed (48%) said that parents significantly influence their decisions.
- One-fourth (27%) said adults should be more open-minded.
Chap Clark's assesment of how the church must respond to it's teens holds true. "The greatest challenge is developing 'a theology of intergenerational community' that helps a whole church to feel responsible for its youth. Otherwise, he said, churches follow mainstream culture's market-driven vision—and, like secular culture, abandon adolescents to raise themselves."