The biggest threat facing Kids These Days? Too much time spent online.

Was8182916What’s the biggest threat to the well-being of Kids These Days? Forget sex, drugs or rock-and-roll. Americans are most likely to instead point to the time teens spend online.

In a new survey, YouGov asked Americans to name the largest problems threatening the well-being of young people age 17 or 18. Respondents were allowed to cite up to three options from a pre-set list. The problem flagged by the highest share of respondents was “spending too much time online” (44 percent), followed closely by “sexualized culture” (43 percent) and “obesity/being overweight” (39 percent).

Here’s the total breakdown; note that the figures add up to more than 100 percent because respondents could choose multiple options:

Thinking about 17-18 year olds in America today…Which two or three, if any, of the following do you think are the biggest threats to their wellbeing? Please select up to three options.
Binge drinking 32% Stress of exams and school 15%
Spending too much time online 44% Smoking 23%
Sexualized culture 43% Suffering from eating disorders (e.g., anorexia) 11%
Obesity/being overweight 39% None of these 4%
Celebrity culture 27% Don’t know 6%

This, of course, is not an objective question. It reflects the hobbyhorses and anxieties of the people answering it. Which explains why the responses vary somewhat depending on the demographics of the respondent. For example, the problem chosen most often by women was “sexualized culture,” with 51 percent of female respondents finding this most worrisome.

The numbers above all refer to the United States, but YouGov also conducted the survey in 23 other countries. And other places, it turns out, have slightly different bogeymen.

In Finland, for example, obesity is the most worrisome of factors ailing today’s youth (even though obesity rates among Finnish children are aboutaverage among developed countries, and far lower than those in the United States and several other nations).

In the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Chile and Mexico, respondents zeroed in on binge drinking. In Colombia, binge drinking tied with too much time spent online, both receiving concern from 55 percent of respondents.

In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, smoking is perceived as the premier problem.

In the other countries surveyed (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand), respondents agreed with their American counterparts that teens’ time spent online is most concerning.

Source: The Washington Post