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And the portion who had tried alcohol plummeted from 93 percent between 19 to 67 percent between 20.
Teens have also reported a steady decline in sexual activity in recent decades, as the portion of high school students who have had sex fell from 54 percent in 1991 to 41 percent in 2015, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics."People say, 'Oh, it's because teenagers are more responsible, or more lazy, or more boring,' but they're missing the larger trend," said Jean Twenge, lead author of the study, which drew on seven large time-lag surveys of Americans.
Between 19, 86 percent of high school seniors had gone on a date; between 20 only 63 percent had, the study found.
During the same period, the portion who had ever earned money from working plunged from 76 to 55 percent.
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"Even in families whose parents didn't have a college education...families are smaller, and the idea that children need to be carefully nurtured has really sunk in."The postponement of "adult activities" could not be attributed to more homework or extracurricular activities, the study said, noting that teens today spend fewer hours on homework and the same amount of time on extracurriculars as they did in the 1990s (with the exception of community service, which has risen slightly).In the first scenario, "You'd have a lot of kids and be in survival mode, start having kids young, expect your kids will have kids young, and expect that there will be more diseases and fewer resources," said Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University who is the author of "i Gen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy - and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood."A century ago, when life expectancy was lower and college education less prevalent, "the goal back then was survival, not violin lessons by 5," Twenge said.In that model a teenage boy might be thinking more seriously about marriage, and driving a car and working for pay would be important for "establishing mate value based on procurement of resources," the study said.If you think the person you're dating is abusive, get help.Talk to your parents or guardians or other adult you trust. If you have been raped, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline online or at 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).
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Rather, she said, kids may be less interested in activities such as dating, driving or getting jobs because in today's society, they no longer need to.