“Lazy Teens” image is a myth according to new study

Teenagers get a pretty rough time of it these days, it seems. There are so many negative stories in the news involving teenagers that it’s not surprising that the unhelpful stereotyping persists.

One label that many teenagers are keen to shake off is that of being lazy. A national survey of 3,500 16-19 year-olds found that nearly three-quarters wanted to be involved in positive activities including sports, other active pursuits, and music, as well as participating in youth groups and volunteering in the community.

Part of the problem seems to be a lack of opportunities – perceived or real – with nine out of ten teens saying that they spent a lot of their time hanging around with friends. Four in five said that there wasn’t enough to do where they lived, and they’d like to see more activities made available to them.

Nearly one in ten teens have part-time jobs, with another one in six keen to get them.

The survey was run by Teen Talk on behalf of the Department for Children Schools and Families, which has a ten-year strategy called “Aiming High for Young People” that seeks to increase young people’s participation in positive leisure time activities, and is investing £679m to create those opportunities.

DCSF minister for children, young people and families, Beverley Hughes, said, “It’s extremely important that we listen to what teenagers themselves are saying. The Teen Talk survey did just that, and showed that the vast majority of young people want to use their free time constructively. This puts paid to the all-too-familiar portrayal of them as only being interested in hanging around on the streets or playing computer games.”

DirectGov: activities for young people