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 "grown up".
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!