Teens: Country headed in wrong direction

Listen up, grown-ups!

Published January 25, 2006 10:13PM (EST)

According to a new study by Chicago market research firm Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU), "more than half of teens believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction." TRU calls this "surprising news from a generational cohort often described" -- politely -- "as carefree and optimistic."

Of 1,183 teens ages12 to 18, 53 percent said the country is "on the wrong track." (OK, that's only a little more than half.) Fifty-seven percent were critical of U.S policy on the environment; 56 percent said our leaders are "headed in the wrong direction." Fifty-one percent "disapprove of the nation's track record" on education.

Speaking of which, Broadsheet asked TRU if there were any significant gender differences among the stats. Interestingly: Nope! Just this: More gals than guys (32 percent vs. 24 percent) believe the country's education system is on the right track. (Again with the war on boys.)

"For many teens, 2005 was a year plagued by disasters -- both natural and manmade," TRU trends director Rob Callender said in a press release. "Although the tsunami in Southeast Asia technically took place in 2004, teens generally listed that tragedy as the introduction to a year of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, and fears of global pandemics. Political controversy and stories of high-level corruption haven't done anything to reassure teens, either." He added that a majority of teens think 2006 will be better than 2005. As I believe they say, "Word to that!"

I'm also guessing, though TRU didn't ask, that teens are not big fans of telephone surveillance.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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