Every generation of teens is shaped by the social, political, and economic events of the day. Today’s teenagers are no different—and they’re the first generation whose lives are saturated by mobile technology and social media. They’re also growing up in a time of ongoing transformation and upheaval.
The list below begins to explore the social issues shaping Gen Z, including events that have shaped their lives, government policies that are impacting them most, and prominent figures they admire.
Gen Z is defined by demographers as people between 16-20 years old or born after 1997—depending on who you ask. Sociologists tend to define them more broadly, with some studies citing 2020 as the dividing line for Millennials vs. Gen Zers. There isn’t universal agreement here either: Pew Research defines Gen Z as those ages 13-17 at the moment (born 2001/1997), which means they’d be considered Millennials by some definitions.
I would like to present a speech entitled “Teenagers of Today”. All people have to go through their teenage years. I am here to talk about teenagers in the United States. Teenagers are usually formed by what they see in news, media and culture.
We can start with some statistical information: According to The National Center for Education Statistics, high school students become less interested in their studies every year. However, six years ago that number was at 12% of those who were failing grades or barely passed. Now it has reached 65%.
I would like to draw attention to some social issues currently happening in America today which affect teenagers in general:
Racism towards children of color is an issue taking place all over America right now. Children are being harassed on the street for no reason other than the color of their skin or their religion. This is a problem that needs to be solved.
In the State of New York, there has been a shooting at a Mosque where the shooter used to go pray there for years and killed innocent people because he believed they were terrorists even though he knew them personally. In Florida, a man attacked another man with a machete just because he was wearing a headscarf. This is an issue that could have been prevented by spreading awareness about other religions and cultures instead of fear towards them. When you look at the number of hate crimes against Muslims it rose from 257 in 2015 to 437 in 2017 which is an increase of 67%.
In 2016, over 5 million teenagers voted in the election which showed how much teens care about their futures as well as their country’s future. In the 2020 election, there is a chance that 16-year-olds will have the opportunity to vote which would be really great for America and its political system overall. However, it has only been a proposal so far and not a law.
Another issue that is very important based on recent statistics children are experiencing more sexual misconduct cases by teachers in public schools due to lack of security during after school hours. Many teen girls fall victim to this abuse every single year because their parents cannot afford private schools or live too far from better ones where building security is more secure than public schools. This issue has been brought up many times before but no steps have been taken yet to solve it despite massive petitions asking for stricter laws or policies to prevent this from happening.
In 2018, a star soccer player from Stanford University named Brock Turner raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and was sentenced to only six months in jail plus probation. He is now out of jail but the victim has been left with a lifetime of trauma that could have been prevented. She had her life changed because one man did not care about what he was doing and ended up getting away with it for way too long.
Another issue which is very important for teenagers today is gun control. In February 14th, 2018 there was a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which killed 17 people and injured many more. The shooter used an AR-15 style weapon to carry out the attack. He was a 19-year-old man who legally bought the gun he used in the attack which shows how little restrictions are being imposed when it comes to buying weapons.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more 15,000 kids were killed via shooting in 2013 which is way too many innocent people dying because of someone else’s rage or desire to hurt others. This is why stricter gun laws need to be implemented across America including mandatory waiting periods, universal background checks plus real mental health evaluations before someone can even buy a weapon that could kill many people without any trouble. Since 1994 there has been an average of 1 school shooting every year in the United States with some years having up to seven shootings alone.