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Ronald Persaud
Prof Scena
Art and Craft of Writing
Youth Culture, Past vs. Present
A common desire for people is the desire to understand the things around them. People
have a desire to learn more about and gain a deeper knowledge about something that they feel
distant from. This desire becomes stronger the more involved someone is with what they do not
understand. It explains why there are such extensive studies done upon youth culture of each
generation. Youth culture is the culture that is developed and formed separately from cultures of
the adults in their generation. It is how children define themselves as a generation in their own
way. This is what distinguishes them as a generation and what causes them to grow up differently
compared to other generations. Many adults like to believe that kids these days are nothing like
what they were like in comparison growing up. They tend to point out only the faults in those
kids or what is different in that generation compared to themselves. What those adults often fail
to see is that first of all they raised those kids. What they did and what they are currently doing in
the positions they hold currently influence the generations that come after them. This holds
especially true for the generation that proceeds immediately after themselves. The influence they
exert occurs in many forms, they may cause certain things to be looked down upon or certain
things to be admired. It is possible that the previous generation sets a trend that echoes across all
generations in the future or they establish an example of what not to do. If we look at what the
generations of the past have done in comparison to our current generation, we can discover these

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many influences and the effects they have. Once we look at these many trends from an unbiased
viewpoint we can come to an agreement. The culture of todays youth is something radically
different in many aspects yet still shares some core similarities in comparison to the past.
The world we know today is seemingly changing by the second. Something new is
happening constantly and the state of the world is changing steadily. There are minor events
which happen to spark major events or major events which spark minor ones and everyone
comes together to argue for what they believe in. Ever since the mid-1900s social movements
have grown and gained much traction in comparison to older time periods. The world has
become much more accepting to change. Recognizing this, many have taken this opportunity to
keep striving for change. To continually keep arguing for their idea of better for their peers.
Children recently have become much more involved in this ongoing debate over what is truly the
best for everyone. Everyone has their own opinions because everyone views things in their own
light. Until recently however have children become more able to share their own opinions freely
and have them be received and considered. This is due in part to the internet but also due to
children becoming more able to share their opinions and consolidating their efforts to get their
point across. They have also become able to better express those opinions in a matter where they
can properly get across. It is no longer the case where children are simply written off for
expressing themselves as disrespectful or ridiculous. Now they are growing up mentally faster
than before. Kids have now shown a habit of joining social movements regularly and openly.
They have become more involved regularly and genuinely want to make a difference. With
children there is a single minded, childlike, focus upon a goal and the fact that it is right. To do
the right thing to them is simply because it feels great to do it. Due to technology and the support
of their parents and community these children are allowed to do things for the world. it

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doesn't hurt that by nature, children are kindhearted, innocent and lacking in cynicism. These
qualities lead them to believe, and rightfully so, that no goal is unachievable and no task or
donation too small (Gofus 8). What this means is that children today are different from those of
the past. They do not simply stop at being stuck in their own private bubble, where the world
does not affect them until they are older. They grow up watching their parents more than
anything and those parents show them the world for how it really is and not an ideal view that
was typically fed to children. Children of the past were brought up in a happier setting. Things
such as financial troubles or moral issues were not something children often encountered. They
were often kept sheltered and away from those issues until they were older to understand. Now a
child may decide to not ask for much in order to lessen their financial strain on their parents who
are struggling.
There is another area in which the current generation of youth differs from those in the
past. The best way to explain this idea would be that kids are simply more accepting and
understanding in comparison to those of past generations. It is definitely an understatement that
equality has come a long way in todays world. It is obvious it has not come far enough and that
old wounds are still fresh in many aspects but we have definitely improved since the
discrimination plagued world that we once were. This is probably due to the current generation
of children being raised by the same people who caused the much social unrest of the late 1900s.
Our parents were probably around during or possibly even participated in the whole Woodstock
generation. What the Woodstock generation was were people who became outraged over the
Vietnam War and the irresponsible way it was being handled on multiple levels. They began to
protest heavily and in multiple forms. A large amount of people became enthusiastic over peace
and love instead of war and violence. While this sentiment is not expressed in the same method

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of drugs, protest and other eccentric things like they were back in the late 1900s they are still
held today in the people who came after them. Everyone has grown a lot more conscious of the
amount of violence in our world and how much we hurt other people. Those people who
participated in that generation are also now either parents or grandparents today and raised their
children with those same sentiments. Due to this the youth of today have become incredibly
focused upon promoting equality, peace and love for all. This is not only isolated to America
alone as well. After World War II everyone in the world was tired of war and suffering. A
majority of people did not want to pursue violence after there had just been so much of it in such
a short span of time. There had been enough death and bloodshed in their eyes and they grew
more fond of the ideas of non-violence and love over hatred.
The background research, plus several suicides due to bullying, led to a national
Intervention programme carried out in the mid-1980s, in which schools were encouraged
to adopt anti-bullying measures at the whole-school, class and individual
levels. Olweus (ibid.) reports an evaluation of this intervention in Bergen schools,
one year and two years after the programme started; he found a considerable
decline in reported bullying. Both direct and indirect bullying fell by 50 per cent
or more, and there was a similar decline in reports of bullying others. The schools
also experienced a decline in other antisocial behaviours, and an increase in
student satisfaction with school life. Another evaluation was carried out by Roland
(1993), in Stavanger schools, three years after the programme started; this
reported much less improvement, with some schools showing more bullying,
although it was reported that schools which had made more use of the pack had
better results. (Eslea, Smith 3).

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The generations of today are built upon this idea that the world has had enough anger and hatred
and that it has come time where we quit the fighting. This has led them to become much more
accepting of one another and promoting an accepting environment.
The main facilitator of this difference is the technology that we have in comparison to the
past. The children of today are more acquainted with technology than the generations before.
This is due to technology becoming so abundant, widespread, and affordable than in the past.
Specifically, the internet is the main precipitator of this difference in cultures. How has
technology influenced youth culture? Technology is youth culture, says author and media critic
Jon Katz. These kids are building a revolution. Technology is part of their ideology, their
language, everything they do (Tell 15). The internet has caused children to become extremely
familiar with the world because it offers in detailed, free, and easily accessible information on
the world. It connects everyone in the world to one another easily and this allows children to be
exposed to the world at a much earlier age. They learn of the many issues that countries face and
what is being done about them. When they are exposed to this the youth begins to try and process
this information on their own. They are not being told any of this by their parents nor are their
parents often there to explain to them so it is left up to the children to form their own thoughts
about the situation. They are also often exposed to the opinions of those who may be sharing the
information or others who have decided to share their own opinions on that information.
Through this many children learn quicker and greater through their exposure to the internet and
their interactions with the many people that utilize it. Children are exposed to many things they
would normally be sheltered from by their parents. They see a great deal their parents may have
wanted to keep from them until they are older. This causes them to grow up mentally more in
todays world in comparison to the past. Children are developing their own world on this new

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unpaved frontier that is the internet. Instead of being shaped by the many norms the previous
generations may try to impose upon them, they are attempting to create their own norm. To start
something entirely new that belongs to them, and due to the internet they are allowed to come
together easily and do so.
The generations in the past were different in what defined them, what they were known
as, and what they became. A lot of it is circumstantial, as is true with the current generation of
youth; however there is a degree of a choice that occurs. The youth culture of the 1900s is one
that is often looked at and examined closely. This is due to the fact that it changed very
drastically from each generation on due to the volatile nature of the world at that time. It was a
difficult century everywhere where the wars which were already horrific in nature became even
worse. With the dawn of World War I many peoples lives were changed drastically all around
the world. There was a lot of fighting in Europe that decimated a lot of lives in the process.
Meanwhile America profited off of the whole ordeal through being able to sell military weaponry
to the sides we supported. We were able to send aid to our allies without directly getting involved
in the war like our attitude has been towards foreign affairs. This brought about a period of time
called the roaring 20s. The youth of this time period was very much the same as it was in the
past. They experienced an upturn in the economy and therefore lived a very comfortable life in
general. Even when we got involved directly in World War I we were still left in a more
favorable position in comparison to the European powers. What would cause a shift in the lives
of Americans, including the youth, would be what came after the roaring 20s.
The Great Depression affected many lives adversely. Numerous Americans were thrown
in to poverty and experienced very difficult times. This would cause the youth of America to
mature in a different way in comparison to before. Due to the circumstances this generation

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would become one that would start a change in every generation that came after them. Everyone
knew of those who lived through the depression and respected them for it. The generation that
lived through the depression would find a different way of life and maturing that was quite
different from the norm that was established for many years. There is not an easy way to describe
them other than they created the accepting nature that is present in all the generations after them.
The generations from the 1930s on would have a certain tolerance for everyone else that would
only grow. In generations that would follow them it was shown that people gradually became
more accepting of things that were perceived as out of the norm. This is attributed to the fact that
many during the Depression era were placed on the same level. Everyone was struggling and at
the bottom and there was seemingly no aid on the way for anyone. So everyone simply turned to
one another and helped each other in any way they could. A lot of prejudice went out the window
in place of helping one another simply survive in times where it was difficult to get simple
There are a lot of differences in every generation because people are different. Everyone
has something about them that sets them apart from everyone else and makes them their own
person. However while we may see a lot of differences we sometimes tend to ignore the
similarities. In the todays generation of youth we know that there are multiple differences that
set them apart from those in the past. It must be kept in mind however that the youth of today
was raised by the generations of the past. As much as the youngest generation will attempt to be
different from those that preceded them they will not be entirely successful. The many ideals that
are imparted when children are being raised stay with them and sometimes are subconsciously
present. They grow up with the teachings their parents have instilled in to them and are in some
way shaped by those teachings. They also learn from watching their parents and how they live

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their own lives. They may learn exactly what to do for something or what not to do. What may
be the bad choice and what can be a good decision. The current youth share the same rebel like
nature that the generations that preceded them flaunted so often, specifically those in the 1960s
onwards. Instead of something new and different being seen as something that should be
ridiculed and something that is ostracized it is considered at first. People may not be welcome to
the idea at first but they do not immediately deny it and give not give it a chance. That is an idea
that has lasted through the past generations in to the current youth. Another idea that has lasted is
the thought that where things are currently is not good enough. That change is required presently
and that the current establishment is not exactly doing the best for everyone. These ideals have
been passed down from the older generations because that was how they grew up. That was their
youth culture. The current generation of youth may try to be different but they cannot fully be
able to distance themselves from those they were raised by.
The youth generations of past and present have many differences. The many
changes that have been experienced can be traced through the changing of the times and the way
each generation was raised by the past. There is some degree of circumstance that influences
how each generation of youth grows. The fact still remains however that each generation of
youth defines themselves with something they decide to find on their own. The youth cultures of
the past are definitely different from the present. They are a lot more of what would be
considered traditional and conservative. Where there are a lot of what would be considered
clichs. However there does exist some similarities in the current youth generation and those of
the past. The past generations pass on their ideas to the youth of today and those ideas persist in
them in some form. They may be shaped or changed to fit the current youth cultures chosen selfproclaimed image, in order for them to define themselves. It does not change the fact that the

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generations of the past influences the ones of the present. That there may be multiple differences
but there are still similarities between them. There still exist ideas that persist through the
generations. What defines each generation is how the next one decides to form themselves
around what the past generations have built.

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Works Cited
Eslea, Mike, and Peter K. Smith. 'The LongTerm Effectiveness Of AntiBullying Work In
Primary Schools'. Taylor & Francis. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 Dec. 2014.
Gofus, Nancy. 'Why Children Are Inspiring Social Movements'. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2014.
Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
Tell, Carol. 'Educational Leadership:Understanding Youth Culture:Generation What? Connecting
With Today's Youth'. N.p., 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.