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Regarding American teenagers, data are abundant and frequently collected. Also, the fact that the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to remain safely in its range between 2 and 3 percent over the next five to ten years helps the economic confidence.Teenagers nowadays are often accused of spending too much time staring at a screen and not enough time playing outside.Twenge and her co-author cite the evolutionary “life-history theory,” which states that human development will be slower when families are smaller, people live longer, children are safe and healthy and education takes longer to complete.“That’s a pretty good description of our current culture,” says Twenge.The new findings are consistent with other recent research, and they tell a complicated story of teens today.“Some people have written that alcohol use and sexuality are down, so that must mean that teens are more virtuous than they used to be,” says lead author Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University.It’s also possible that the use of smartphones and Internet access has played a role in accelerating these patterns over the last five or so years.Because they allow kids to communicate with friends without leaving their homes, she says, they have less opportunity to engage in adult activities.

Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date data than referenced in the text.Dating customs have changed since you were a teenager.The most striking difference is the young age at which children now begin dating: on average, twelve and a half for girls, and thirteen and a half for boys.The study’s findings may help explain why the teen birth rate rate is lower than ever, Twenge says, and why teenagers get in fewer car accidents than they used to.“Teens are safer and healthier than they’ve ever been,” she says, “and that’s obviously a very good thing.” (The latter statistic comes from research Twenge did for her new book, MORE: Teens Are Getting More Depressed But Using Fewer Drugs The new study did not investigate why maturity has slowed among teenagers, but the researchers have a few guesses.

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