A new study shows after your optimistic teenage years hope drifts away down the drain – welcome to Real Life
A sad, lonely picture has been painted of teens over the past few months. Recent studies have shown them to be bullied at school, feeling like outsiders, and having low satisfaction with their bodies – particularly teen girls. But new research has revealed our teenage years are when we feel best about life and what’s going to happen to us in the future.
Between the ages of 14 and 16 is the time when we feel the most optimistic about how life will pan out, according to the survey.
The research came from charity Barnardo’s who asked 975 people aged 14 to 22 from all socio-economic backgrounds about how positive they felt about their chances in future life. The study included included 221 who feel among the ‘best off’, 389 among the ‘worst off’ and 375 in the ‘middle’.
Only nine per cent aged 14 to 16 agreed that ‘people like me don’t have much of a chance in life’, indicating that teens are pretty optimistic about their future, regardless of background. Great news.
However, depressingly, the youthful naivety starts plummeting early. By 17 to 19 the number who felt they didn’t have much chance almost doubled. By 20 to 22, over one in five shared that bleak vision of the future. Why? Maybe the teenage dreams have just faded while the reality of life after exams start to kick in.
Most troublingly, the survey shows how disadvantaged young people are seriously affects their outlook.
While 87 per cent of those who perceived themselves among the ‘best off’ believed they’d be able to live not relying on benefits, that fell to 59 per cent of those who thought they were ‘worst off’. Fewer than half of the ‘worst off’ thought they’d earn enough to support a family, compared with three in four of the ‘best off’.
The research also showed that six in ten of the ‘worst off’ believe they will struggle to get a job even if they do well in school. Despite the odds, it is (or was) supposedly possible in the UK to rise the ranks and better your socio-economic status. If you wanted to, you could better your surroundings and earn more money with some education and hard work. So to see that young people who think they’re ‘worst off’ are feeling so hopeless is worrying.
Our government always goes on about social mobility but this research shows we’re decades away from that. Young working class people should be aiming for the stars, not giving up aspirations before they’ve even left got out of their teenage yeats. Yet another indicator that Britain is living under a Tory government that devalues both the efforts of young people and the working class.