McCall 1 Chandler McCall Senior Project Research Paper AP Literature November 18, 2011 Problems with Youth Today Youth today are expected to do a multitude of things that past generations did nothave to deal with. Many of these problems are new to our generation or have been aroundfor many generations, they just have become worse in recent years. These problems caninclude depression, suicide, violence, drug abuse, alcohol, teen pregnancy and abortion.Most of these are serious problems that are plaguing our youth, but they may not haveanywhere to go for help. One place that will always be there to help in anyway possible isa youth group at a local church. It is now the job of many people to be involved with theyouth of a church and be a mentor for teens to make it through the trying times of middleand high school. These youth pastors are there to help students and if more teens askedfor help from these leaders, they might find answers that fix these problems or stop theproblem before it even happens. One of the most common problems that teens will face is depression.“Documented statistics and data available indicated 20 teens out of every 100 suffer fromdepression before they reach the age of 18.” (All-on-Depression-Help) This is 20% ofteens that will face depression before they are an adult. The cause of this depression canrange from stress to abuse, whether from a family member or bullying at school. “Nearly30 percent of teens suffering from depression cultivate substance abuse problems. Thiscould be accompanied by alcohol consumption, too.” (All-on-Depression-Help) This is a
McCall 2very disturbing fact. Because of people’s depression, they turn to substances that “help”them relieve the pain when there is a much better solution, which will not cause them aphysical addiction that might ruin their lives. Not only do teens turn to these substancesbut they turn to an even worst answer to their pain, suicide. “The third leading cause ofdeath among teens is suicide.” (National Institute of Health) This is a very sad thingbecause this is the most permanent of the problems. While others can have life longeffects, this is devastating to everyone around. Youth groups are there to be a supportnetwork of friends and adults. They give everyone a place to go and get help. Youthpastors often are trained in counseling and can do the best job out of any counselorbecause of the already have a personal relationship with the student. While in the youthgroup, the students are taught that there are going to be hard times, but not to worry,everything will be fine in the end. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadowof death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”(Psalm 23:4 NASB) Another problem teens have to deal with today is violence. “One in ten teensarrested has been engaging in a violent activity that could have resulted in the seriousinjury or the death of another person.” (Teen Help) This is extreme violence that is wellknown, but is this extreme violence is not as common as bullying. “National estimatesindicate that 30 percent of youth in grade six through 10 are involved in bullying, eitheras a target or as the bully. Some even experience both.” (Teen Help) A major part ofbullying that can be stopped is how people treat others. Youth pastors often teach thatstudents should be nice and accepting to everyone, no matter what. “Never pay back evilfor evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” (Romans 12:17 NSAB)
McCall 3It is never alright to treat anyone in a way that they may deserve. Even the golden rule oftreat others as you want to be treated can lead to anger with someone else. With thisbeing taught, violence in all forms with teens would drastically be reduced because theidea of retaliation would not be in students minds. As mentioned earlier, drinking and substance abuse is a side effect of depression.Not all students’ abuse drugs and alcohol because of depression, but it is a seriousproblem in schools. “Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, peopleaged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.” (Center forDisease Control and Prevention) This is one in ten drinks consumed is by someoneunderage, which is a very high statistic and is not good. Drinking from the age of 12 to 20can effect the development of a persons health and can cause a dependency on alcohol.“More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks. On average,underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.”(Center for Disease Control and Prevention) Teenagers do not understand the effects ofalcohol on their system and do not limit their consumption. They also do not understandthe effects alcohol has on their decision making. “In 2008, there were approximately190,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and otherconditions linked to alcohol.” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) Not only doteens get injured while they are inebriated, but they are over confident in their ability todo things such as drive while under the influence. “In 2007, about 28% of teenagerskilled in motor vehicle crashes were drinking either before or while they were driving.”(Naik) Youth groups do not approve of under age drinking. Even once you are 21; it isnot widely accepted to drink without control. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is
McCall 4dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18 NSAB) Also the use of illegaldrugs is not accepted at all. “In 2010, 21.4 percent of high school seniors used marijuanain the past 30 days, while 19.2 percent smoked cigarettes.” (National Institutes of Health)Youth pastors teach that you should keep your body clean of foul substances and anyillegal drug would fall under this category. Marijuana is also dangerous because it is agateway drug. Unlike the addiction you get from cigarettes, which is from the nicotine,marijuana gives you the need for a high, which can be achieved by many different drugswhich is very dangerous to your health This is why it is called a gateway drug. One problem that has been around for a while, but seems it has become worse inresent years, is teen pregnancy. “Every year around 750,000 teenagers will get pregnant.”(Pregnant Teen Help) This is a large amount of teens that suddenly are faced with asituation that is very stressful and usually unexpected. “More than 2/3 of all teenagerswho have a baby will not graduate from high school, hence the correlation with teenagepregnancy and education.” (Pregnant Teen Help) Youth pastors teach abstinence to theirstudents and this is a good message, as it is the only way that is 100% effective inpreventing pregnancy. When teens are put in the situation where they are expecting anddo not want to have the child, they turn to abortion. “More than half of abortions areobtained by women under 25 years of age. In fact, 35 percent of pregnant teenagers havean abortion, according to the National Abortion Federation.” (Welton) While this is alegal option in the U.S., it is recommended as an absolute last option. Too many peopleview this as more than just a last option, they see it as a quick solution to an immediateproblem. “The Guttmacher Institute reports that in 2006, there were 200,420 abortionsamong teenagers, and the majority of these teenagers are ages 15 to 19 years.” (Welton)
McCall 5This is a staggering number and all were for teens in high school or the first year ofcollege. What is not taken into consideration for this procedure is the mental effects thatcan come after the procedure. “Abortion can be an elective or sometimes a medicallynecessary procedure. Society often underestimates the emotional problems that plaguethe would-be mothers and families following an abortion…” (McElfresh) There are manymental problems that can be traced back to this procedure that effect not only the woman,but everyone in the family that is involved. “Most couples experience feelings of lossafter an abortion even if the pregnancy was not suspected or planned, says Leifer. Griefover the loss may last longer than you expect. The thoughts of what might have beensometimes plague both partners. Guilt can also accompany the grief process.”(McElfresh) This guilt can lead to depression which goes back to earlier where youthgroups can come in. Some feel that abortion is murder, which goes against the TenCommandments, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:14) Whether it truly is or is notmurder is up to debate, but many girls feeling guilt from this can find peace in a youthgroup by understanding everyone is forgiven of their past, no matter what they havedone. “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”(Romans 15:7 NSAB) While abortion is an option, still the best way to preventpregnancy in the first place is abstinence, which is taught in almost every youth group. Ifit is not, then it needs to be, because whether you agree with abortion or not, it preventsmany other problems can arise other than pregnancy. There are many trials and tribulations that teens must face in modern society. Nomatter how advanced technology gets, or how great life may be, there will be the sameproblems dragging teens down and causing them to stumble. This will never go away
McCall 6unless there is action taken. We need to start teaching our youth how to deal with theseproblems in the correct way and one of the best places to go to learn these things is ayouth group in a local church. It does not matter so much what kind of church it is, just aslong as you are being taught ways to handle day to day life in a way that may eliminatethese problems that ruin people’s lives.
McCall 7 Works CitedAll-on-Depression-Help. “Teenage Depression Statistics.” all-on-depression-help.com. N.p., 2009. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.all-on-depression- help.com/teenage-depression-statistics.html>.The Bible. 1960. 1995 ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002. Print. NASB Thinline Bible. New American Standard Bible.Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Alcohol and Public Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 20 July 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http:// www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm>.McElfresh, Annie. “EMOTIONAL SIDE EFFECTS OF ABORTION.” Editorial. LiveStrong.com. N.p., 28 Mar. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/110738-emotional-side-effects-abortion/>.Naik, Abhijit. “Teen Drinking and Driving Facts - Teenage Drunk Driving Statistics.” Buzzle.com. N.p., 22 Sept. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/teen-drinking-and-driving-facts-teenage-drunk- driving-statistics.html>.National Institute of Health. “Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and Prevention.” National Institute of Mental Health. N.p., 27 Sept. 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-in-the-us-statistics-and- prevention/index.shtml#prevent>.
McCall 8National Institutes of Health. “NIDA InfoFacts: High School and Youth Trends.” National Institute of Drug Abuse. N.p., Aug. 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/HSYouthtrends.html>.Pregnant Teen Help. “Teen Pregnancy Statistics.” Pregnant Teen Help. N.p., 23 Nov. 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.pregnantteenhelp.org/statistics/teen- pregnancy-statistics/>.Teen Help. “Teen Violence Statistics.” TeenHelp.com. N.p., 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.teenhelp.com/teen-violence/teen-violence-statistics.html>.Welton, Rose. “TEEN ABORTION FACTS.” Editorial. LiveStrong.com. N.p., 26 Apr. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/88415-teen- abortion/>.