Adult Conceptualizations of Youth

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AdultConceptualizations of Youth



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Thepaper focuses on the concepts and opinions that adults have on theyouth in recent times. Scrutiny of the different challenges that facethe youth is inclusive of this essay as well. These challenges assertwhy some of the youths tend to involve themselves in questionableacts and habits. The primary source of analysis is an article thatwas written by the BBC that speaks about the young generation of theindividuals between the ages of 15 to about 35. The review of thereport provides the primary focus of the author relating to the youthand how the views expressed by the author affect the lives of theyouth. The voice of the author is seen to speak from an adult’sperspective and not that of the young people. The views of the authorare negative, and this results in several implications that relate tothe welfare of the young people. Different discourses on youthexplained in this essay proclaim how deeply rooted the harmfulopinions that the adults have on the youth. These discourses areclearly defined using relevant examples. The effect that they havehad on the youth will clearly show the need to alter these damagingstands. Several solutions to the underlying issues are discussed, andways of changing the attitudes of the adults and the entire society,in general, are illustrated. All the steps provided to transform thisage-old assessment of the youth is mainly to ensure that they haveare provided with more opportunities to create a better life forthem. The young people are a significant part of the society andsubsequently have to be treated accordingly. Finally, thisdissertation calls upon the youth as the primary mode of influencethat will eventually rebuild their reputation.

Theyouths are the most marginalized group in most societies. No matterthe race or gender, the notion of youth rarely changes. They are at aprecarious stage where they are still young, yet the society expectsthem to act like adults. For an individual to become a youth, theywould have undergone different experiences and learning opportunitiesthat give them a chance to decide the choices that they make in life.Most of the education involving social behavior usually comes fromthe surrounding family. The relatives play a vital role in instillingmannerisms that the society tolerates. The youth gets subjected tointense scrutiny for them to find respect and recognition. Thegeneral view that involves the youth is that they are lazy,irresponsible and careless. Due to the changes that are undergoingwithin their bodies, one of the main traits involving them isunpredictability (O`Sullivan, et al. 1994). Their description is thatthey tend to act out in discordance with the nature and state of mostsituations. The explanation is frequently the ‘raging hormones’that are cruising around their bodies. They find themselves havingthe short end of the straw without prior information or warning.Grownups, especially the middle-aged, think that youths lack theability to handle tasks and requirements that involve a lot ofresponsibility (Krauss et al. 2014). Most young people face manychallenges as they traverse through life. These challenges rarelyfind the right resolution. The incapability to seek solutions to theproblems that the youth encounter on a daily basis results from themisconception about the youth.

Challengesthat the Youth Face in the 21st Century

Theyoung people of this century encounter numerous factors that impingeupon their lives. Most of these social factors that work against theminclude race, gender, and culture. Each of these factors operates inone way or another to hinder the growth and development of the youth.The factors are discussed in detail below.


Racialdiscrimination has been a problem in the world for over a hundredyears. This discrimination begins with one race of people starting tosee themselves as the superior race. They, therefore, look down uponthe other races. Economic and health benefits are usually providedfor the ‘superior’ race while the other races are neglected.Eventually, the marginalized race suffers greatly (Mitchell, 2012). Ayoung person who is from a race that is discriminated or segregated,the trials that are upon him or her are great. They, therefore, haveto work extra hard to be at the same level as their counterparts. Themain disadvantage of being from a minority race is that economicstability is difficult. It becomes a daunting task for these youngpeople to get the money to pay their college tuition fees (Chun,2011). Thus, most end up with only high school diplomas and fail tosecure better-paying jobs that require more academic qualifications.


Genderdiscrimination is another factor that negatively affects the lives ofthe young people in this century. This gender discrimination arisesfrom the notion that the male gender is deemed greater than thefemale gender. This sexism makes the female youths to face morerestrictions when they try to get opportunities that can benefittheir lives. Such opportunities are usually available for the maleyouths while the female ones are given the last priority. Thissituation is acuter in the developing countries (McFarland, et al.2006). Education for the girl child is still not much of a priorityfor many families there. The female youth barely gets a primaryeducation before they are married off at a young age. This situationshows how much gender discrimination has a powerful impact on thegrowth and development of the female youth.


Differentyouths from various parts of the globe grow under various culturesand customs. Some cultures assist in helping the youth develop theirlives. An example is a culture that most young people in thedeveloped countries are raised with. They get quality education rightfrom their childhood. The parents tirelessly work to ensure theirchildren get the best opportunities in life. In the developingcountries, however, poverty levels are very high. This makes most ofthe youths raised in such cultures to begin from a disadvantagedlevel (Lotstein, et al. 2013). They lack the quality education thatgives them a competitive edge in this economy. This becomes asignificant challenge for such young people who fail to obtainprofessional jobs thus economic instability becomes an issue thathalts their progress in life.

Otheryouths face significant challenges especially those without parentsand others that are born in the streets. The challenges facing suchyouths are so great that very few manage to build better lives forthemselves. Other youths have issues involving drug addiction andsubstance abuse. These young people are unproductive in the societyand require medical intensive care for them to recover. They exposethemselves to many dangers such as diseases and even death due tooverdose (Fair, et al. 2011).

Thefollowing essay will focus on an article that speaks about the youth.The stand of the writer and opinions that they proclaim will beanalyzed. The depiction and role of the youth in the modern societyis rarely considered as an issue that warrants a profound andcomprehensive study. The review of this article will show how wrongthis notion is and how the youth can find a better position or statuswithin the society. The primary objective of this review is tocorrect the traditional assessment that most people in the societyhave had on the youth. The article used for this essay came from theBBC website (Negative stereotypes `hurting teenage job prospects`2014).

TheAuthor’s View

Theauthor of the article narrows down on the degenerative behaviors thatthe present youth is into. The advancements achieved in technologyand communication plays a significant role in defining the nature ofthe current youth. The underlying is that the youth is deeplyinvolved in all matters to do with the internet. The onset of socialmedia was a step to subjecting the youth to more antisocialbehaviors. This development brought about a new age where people wereable to communicate online regardless of their geographic location.With time, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagramcame to birth. These sites gave the youth an opportunity to venttheir frustrations and dissatisfaction to people they have not met.This habit developed to a situation where the youth used social mediato showcase lifestyles and activities that were false (Camino, 2000).Social media became a channel where the youth could expressthemselves and hurt others in the process through the use offalsehood to gain popularity. The author describes the youth as aselfish bunch that rarely cares about anything that does not includepopularity or fame. This selfishness is projected to describe everyindividual between the ages of fifteen to thirty. The author goesahead to state that the present day youth is lethargic and lazy. Thisdescription is described by how most youths spend their time wheneverthey are not in school or at work. They use much of the time on theinternet or watch movies and television series (Richardson, et al.2010). No time is provided for self-development strategies such asreading or exercise. Most of the youth that is over twenty-one yearsold are also called ‘party animals.` The author states that theseyouth spend most of their nights in nightclubs and other localeswhere their nocturnal indulgences can be fulfilled. The deviant actsof the twenty-first-century youths make them disappoint the formergenerations on different levels. The author stipulates that theseyouths have one focus that is to experience the thrill and have funto the maximum. Very few show concern about their society or try tobetter the lives of the people around them (Negative stereotypes`hurting teenage job prospects` 2014).

Theviews of the writer of this article are clearly negative. The opinionthat defines the youth as a combination of lazy, self-centered andselfish people is biased. The youths have been showcased in a badlight, and everything about them has been wrongly concluded by theauthor. The author seems to combine all the youth while paying noheed to the ones working difficult to make better lives forthemselves and the society. These biased views are an example of howadults picture the youths and their abilities (Hough &amp Roberts,2004).

HowYouths are referred to in the Article

Theyouths are ‘othered’ in the article. This style of writing usedby the writer shows how they are trying to remove themselves fromtheir primary subject. The author attempts to convince the readersthat they have no affiliation whatsoever with the youth that they arespeaking about. The style employed shows that the author is an olderperson who went through the same vigorous life of the youth. Thisauthor endeavors to give the public a message that can help the youthovercome the stereotyped version of their nature. The young people ofthis century have access to many different sources of information.Their communication methods are much faster than those of theirpredecessors. The lessons learned from this article can be easilypropagated to other youths. The author hopes the youth that will readthe article would not sit on the information but will tell theothers.

Focusof the Article

Thefocus of the article revolves around two different situations thatresult from the apparent deviant mannerisms of the youth. To someextent, the behaviors that the youth portray might push them toactivities that can be harmful to civilization. Such activitiesinclude theft, violence and even murder. These youths tend to feelthat they are disadvantaged in their life status. This notion comesabout from the pictures and updates they are constantly exposed tothrough the social media (Spacks, 1981). Their counterparts parade alife of luxury and pleasure. This parade falsely shows a life thatvery few get to enjoy. The youths that feel disadvantaged resort toillegal means that can help them get money to enjoy that lifestyle aswell. They turn to different forms of crime that provide easy money.Thus, such youths become thieves, robbers and killers over time.These youths, therefore, transform from normal people to danger tothe society. The author provides a contrary situation where someyouths tend to be at risk due to their actions and habits. The use ofsocial media to express one’s personality rarely makes someone feelbetter about their welfare (Jahoda, 1965). The feeling of onlinepopularity usually lasts for a short period. This online therapy onlyprovides a temporary reprieve. Eventually, these youths that fail tofeel good about themselves even with the use of social media findthemselves victims of substance abuse. Others contemplate suicide andother acts that can harm them. The youth, therefore, tend to beeither harmful to those surrounding them, or they can be potentialvictims to the different negative factors that may come their way.

Voiceof the Writer

Thejudgmental tone used in the article clearly shows that the voice usedis not that of a young person. There is no section where somesituations are explained in the point of view of a young person. Thewriting shows that its creator is someone who went through the youthstage. This situation makes the opinions voiced in the article toseem obsolete. The disregard of the author’s views comes about fromthe constant change that happens in the world over the years. Theyouth in the present time encounters different challenges incomparison to the youth of a few decades ago (Garvey et al. 2012).This fact makes it clear that the author’s opinions are moreobjective than subjective. The author fails to provide factualstatements since the position that they are in gives them the littleauthority to criticize the traits of the youth.

Implicationsfor the Youth from the Perception

Theperception that adults have on youths is a damning verdict thatdisrupts any progress the youth can attempt to better their lives.The youth’s depiction as lazy and selfish group brings significantdisadvantages to their growth and development. When it comes to theirschooling, the teachers and professors barely interact with theyounger people. They do so for they feel that any effort they putinto educating the youth will be wasted. This lack of interactionsubjects the youths to lower quality of education that results tofuture incompetent professionals. The perception of the youngerpeople creates more problems for them as the adults feel that theycannot trust them (Aboud, 2007). This lack of confidence makes theyouth have a difficult time securing jobs. The unemployment levelscontinue to rise, and the youth continues to suffer. The inability tofind work makes some of the youth to opt for life in crime as a lastresort (Roberts, 2004). The illegal activities they mainlyparticipate in include theft, robbery and dealing drugs. They usuallybegin such as a means of supplementing their income. Some haveyounger siblings that have no one to look out for but them. They usethe money obtained illegally to cloth, feed, and school their youngerbrothers and sisters (Zeldin, et al. 2014). Eventually, they becometoo deeply rooted in the life of crime to the point where they losethemselves.

Thisnegative perception about the youth goes even further to affectingthe opinion of the youth of themselves. The young people begin tofeel inadequate and feel that they cannot achieve anything. Once theystart doubting themselves, their morale is destroyed, and very fewaim to achieve great things in life. Their mentality can only bealtered once they are convinced that the rest of the society believesin their capabilities (Males, 1996).

Discourseson Youth

Discourseis the different characteristics of the subject, mysteries, thedialectal and construction of any discussion. The discourse on youthis different depending upon the locality of the youth being targeted.The discourses about youths from the developed countries varyconsiderably with those from the underdeveloped ones. The maindiscourse about the youth in America is about how immoral the youthsare. This loose moral has been as a result of an easy upbringing. Theparents and guardians of the young people were not strict when theyraised them. The rules were not firmly enforced, and this resulted toa generation of youths that have bad behaviors, and they do not careabout the image they portray. This adverse view of the youths moralis damaging to their reputations (Aarsand, 2012). The adult indifferent organizations and institutions feel like these youthscannot handle future responsibilities that will come their way. It isvital that the youth receives the necessary education that cantransform their mindset and habits.

Druguse and substance abuse are another discourse that depicts the youthcrisis in America. Youths as young as fifteen years old findthemselves exposed to drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy andeven heroine. The exposure areas are usually parties and music eventsknown as ‘raves.` The drug dealers target such events to findnovice and curious customers. These young people get early exposureto the world of drugs, and their lives become scarred from then on.

Violenceis another major discourse that affects the youths. Youths have had areputation for acts of violence that claimed several lives. The mostfrequent ones are the mass shootings that happen in high schools andcolleges. The perpetrators of such viciousness are young men andwomen who study in the same institution. Such acts have led tohundreds of lives being lost in the last fifty years (Steinhart,1988).

Depressionand suicide are another discourse that depicts the youths in mostdeveloped countries. Over a million youths in America are diagnosedwith depression and have to take prescription anti-depressants.Suicide rates among the youths have been on the rise in the last fewyears. It is estimated that suicide is the third leading cause ofdeath among the young people in America (Pullen, 2014). All thesediscourses display a state where the youths of America are facing amajor crisis in their growth and development.

TheCounter-discourse on Youth

Someauthors have written discourses that speak against the speech thatdepicts the American youth to be in crisis. These authors focus ondifferent subjects that mainly seek to atone the youth from thereputation they have. An example is a claim that the youth of thiscentury is morally loose, and there has been an increase in teenagepregnancies. It is evident that the adults are using the youth as ascapegoat for the evils were done (Males, 1996). The youth is usuallythe poorest group in any society. Poverty makes the young peopleinvolve themselves in questionable acts so that they get some income.The adults are forty years and above and are the richest of all thegroups in society. Most of the evils that the youth is characteristicfor are due to the effects of extreme poverty. The young people lackaccess to the resources that are enjoyed by the adults. Thisexploitation, therefore, shows that it is not right to blame theyouth for all the social problems (Wray-Lake, et al. 2010).

Theviolence in schools where youths attack and maim their fellow youthshas been advertised internationally by the media. This spread of theinformation has given the young Americans a terrible standing.However, almost seventy percent of violent acts on the youth ofAmerica is as a result of an adult. This information is scarcelyknown to the masses.


Aproper counter-discourse should be written that clearly explains thepoint of view of the youth and the challenges they go through. Mostarticles that speak ill of the youth are written by adults. They haveno ground level experience on matters that impact the young people asthey struggle to sustain and develop themselves. The appropriate wayof dealing with this is to find youth writers who can create articlesthat depict the youth in a positive light (Lewin, 2010). Slowly thisdiscourse will help rebuild the image and reputation of the youth.Eventually, youths will find it easier to secure jobs and loans thatcan help them enhance their lives.

Youthsshould also work as ambassadors and advocates to their group in thesociety. They should include themselves in activities that assist thecommunity such as volunteering to do public cleaning and donations.Once the other age groups in the society begin to see such acts ofgenerosity and selflessness, they will start having a better opinionof the youth (Mitra, 2014). Within no time, the young people willhave a better reputation in the society. If these suggestions arefollowed, it will be an important step towards preparing a greaterfuture for the youth.


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