TIME human behavior

4 in 10 Teens Admit Texting While Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found kids are still engaging in a range of risky behaviors, despite a reported drop in cigarette use.

Today’s teens are distracted behind the wheel, according to a new survey. Though they aren’t smoking cigarettes in high rates, or regularly driving drunk, about 41% of America’s driving teens reported that they had texted or emailed while driving.

This is in spite of the often horrifying commercials and campaigns aimed at keeping teen drivers’ eyes on the road while behind the wheel. The findings, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey, are especially daunting given the fact that the bulk of teen deaths are the result of motor vehicle crashes.

But texting and driving isn’t the only risky business teens are engaging in. Though teens aren’t watching as much TV as they were in 1999, more are using the computer for longer periods of time. About 41.3% said they’re using computers for more than 3 hours a day, up from 31.1% in 2011. About 14.8% of students said they had been bullied online, compared to 19.8% who had been bullied at school.

And sitting in front of screen does little to help the nearly 21% of adolescents considered obese.

Another risk that should have parents worried: sexually active teens are using condoms a bit less than they have in the past. About 47% of students said they had ever had sex, but of the 34% of teens that are sexually active, only about 59% are using condoms, down from 63% in 2003.

The annual survey of a nationally representative sample of ninth through 12th graders in the U.S. examines the unhealthy behaviors teens have engaged in over the past 12 months to gage what leads to the unintentional injury, obesity, and unplanned pregnancy within the group. About 13,500 surveys, which were administered at public and private high schools, were examined to determine results.

TIME TIME 100 Gala

‘Gravity’ Director Toasts Future Generations


Deciding to refrain from toasting his mother because “my Oedipus is rampant” and he still needs his eyes in order to direct movies, Alfonso Cuarón turned his praise to generations yet to come as he raised his glass at the TIME 100 Gala in New York Tuesday evening.

“Every single real inspiration I have in life has been one that has not betrayed the purity and the innocence of the 15-year-old that I once was,” he said “The one who dared to believe that the impossible can happen.”

TIME Bizarre

The Cool New Way to Get High Is Apparently To Rub Burt’s Bees Lip Balm On Your Eyelids

Burt's Bees products are displayed at Gramercy Natural Front
Jb Reed / Bloomberg / Getty Images

It's called "Beezin"

Apparently, the youths have found yet another bizarre and probably unsafe way to alter their mental states.

Oklahoma City’s Fox-25 reports that teens are now getting a new kind of “buzz” by applying Burt’s Bees lip balm to their eyelids. Naturally, they’re calling it “Beezin” and apparently it adds to the experience of already being drunk or high by adding an additional tingling sensation. Others say it keeps them alert.

But like, why did the youths choose Burt’s Bees?

It’s the peppermint oil that’s causing the burning sensation and I suppose some people think that is kind of funny,” Dr. Brett Cauthen at Today Clinic told Fox-25.

Yeah, funny until you get pink eye, dude! Then no one will want to hang out with you because you’re that weirdo with red swollen eyes.

If you don’t believe that “Beezin” is a real thing, then allow this video to convince you:

(h/t Gawker)

TIME youth

The Top 5 Places to Be a Teen (Sorry Kids, the U.S. is #6)

Australian Holiday Makers Celebrate 'Schoolies' Week In Bali
Australian teenagers let their hair down in Bali—a popular destination for school breaks. Aussie teens are top of a newly released list of global youth wellbeing Agung Parameswara—Getty Images

Aussie teens are having a way better time than other kids, according to the Global Youth Wellbeing Index, which looked at indicators including economic opportunity, access to education, health and safety from 30 countries

Despite the never-ending stream of TV shows glorifying teen life in America, kids in the U.S. don’t have it the best, according to a new study.

In fact, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the International Youth Foundation, said this week that Australia scored the highest on the “Global Youth Wellbeing Index” released this week.

The study vetted 30 countries in total and is based on a smattering of indicators including economic opportunity for youth and access to education, health, information and communications, safety and security.

Here are the top 5 rankings:

  1. Australia
  2. Sweden
  3. South Korea
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Germany

The United States came in at no. 6, followed by Japan, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

The bottom five countries were India followed by four African nations: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria.


TIME Teens

What’s Really Wrong With Young People Today: Juvenoia

High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., on March 4, 2014.
High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., on March 4, 2014. Bob Karp—Daily Record/AP

Every generation believes that the generation before was too rigid and conservative—and the generation after too wild and out-of-control.

The perplexing case of Rachel Canning, an 18-year old New Jersey teen who is suing her estranged parents for private high school and college tuition and living expenses has achieved national attention. The case is a heartbreaking example of a family in which communication has collapsed and animosity has tragically replaced the warmth we should all expect from our families. It also seems, on the surface, to be a private matter. So why then has it gotten such national attention? The answer, I suspect, lies in the widespread aversion many older adults feel toward juveniles and how “entitled” youth appear to be, at least in the eyes of the old.

I suspect that this case and the attention it has garnered is another example of juvenoia. Juvenoia, a term usually credited to sociologist David Finkelhor, refers to the fear of juveniles by older adults. Juvenoia is manifest in a multitude of ways, including the belief that today’s youth are worse behaved than ever before, despite much evidence to the contrary. Many older adults continue to think that youth violence is the worst ever, for instance, despite the fact that it stands now at only about 12% of what it was just two decades before. But in the current case, many comments have focused on how “entitled” Rachel Canning is, implying that this is part of a greater trend in the current generation of youth.

Like many adults I’m not a big fan of the “everyone gets a trophy” movement over the past few decades. Honest feedback, discipline and structure are good for children, as is competition in the spirit of good sportsmanship. Giving them everything they want when they want it certainly isn’t. But the idea that youth today are any more entitled than in the past is, at best, debatable. Although some psychologists have claimed there is a “narcissism epidemic” among today’s youth, other psychologists have countered that the evidence for this is weak.

Indeed, comments by older adults that today’s youth are more entitled than previous generations go back at least to the ancient Greeks. My read of the data is closer to the skeptical view: most such claims are more indicative of the griping of older adults than anything “new” about today’s teens. Sure, some teens feel entitled, but that’s always been the case. But stories such as Rachel Canning’s lawsuit fit into those narratives and provide more fuel for juvenoia. What should be a private family matter becomes fodder for the perennial intergenerational squabbling.

Juvenoia also exerts itself in a variety of moral panics focused on youth. We constantly hear about how teens are up to new forms of mischief our older generations would never have thought of. Most of these tales end up being false. Recent examples include the “rainbow party” in which teen girls supposedly provided oral sex to multiple boys and the “knockout king” game in which young (usually minority) males supposedly target random people for assaults. Certainly in a country of over 300 million, some teens do dangerous and risky things (as do some adults), but evidence for any new mass trends in teen sex or violence is absent. These tales of wayward youth are the stuff of urban legend, not fact.

Juvenoia also manifests in the routine disparagement of youth culture. From Elvis Presley to rap music to video games, older adults are quick to blame youth culture for perceived social problems, often forgetting that the media valued in their own youth was similarly disparaged. I call this the “Goldilocks Effect” — every generation’s belief that the generation before was too rigid and conservative, and the generation after too wild and out-of-control. Each generation thinks it got culture “just right.”

Even science can get in on the juvenioa. Most recent have been the brain imaging findings that note our brains continue to develop through adolescence and into adulthood…and until we’re dead, really. Some research suggests that these differences are quite adaptive, but, nonetheless much of the narrative on this has been misused to portray teens as zombified hedonistic fools unable to restrain their least impulse.

Teens and young adults remain one group of people that can be publicly disparaged with almost no condemnation. Some of the anti-youth rhetoric gets wrapped up in language about “protecting” our youth. But a vein of true loathing runs through much of the discussion. And until we’re honest about that it will continue to produce urban legends and junk science.

Christopher J. Ferguson is associate professor and department chair of psychology at Stetson University.


Wrinkles and Red Lipstick Don’t Mix

Getty Images

No doubt about it, we are living in the age of wrinkles. The population of “elderly” in America and in almost all areas of the world is growing fast—faster than the overall total population. It is no secret baby boomers are hitting age 65 in big numbers. In America, already roughly one out of seven people is 65 or older. That number will be one out of five people in 2030, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bring on the wrinkles. And no doubt more and more suggestions, options, and procedures to try to beat the clock and present smooth “youthful” skin.

(MORE: Quiz: Find The Best Diet For Your Personality)

Yes, we are living longer, but the cult of youth has made women (and men) more and more self-conscious and obsessed with looking younger than we are. Certainly images touted in today’s media, often of celebrities and then globalized, have made things worse. Too often, it seems to me, giving up seems like the easy way out. Too many women 40 and up se laissent aller, let themselves go. Look around: fat is becoming scarily acceptable, so is dressing down, poorly and distastefully (sometimes under the so-called umbrella of “comfort”).

A great number of women tend today, I believe, to behave in extremes; they are “all or nothing” in their approach to dieting for instance, which I think parallels how some women approach aging. Once they feel old, many give up. Or they have a moment of firm resolve and want almost instant gratification at the physician’s office. Liposuction and full or partial facelifts are choice items on the menu, with the former far more popular than the later, in part because facelifts are so expensive. And there are, of course, habitual Botox injections.

What is troubling is that facelifts have seemingly become the first choice magic option rather than the culmination of a skin care, nutrition, grooming and dressing program for life that pays attention to gravity and aging.

Embracing aging and developing a positive mindset, an attitude that results in a healthy lifestyle is the anti-aging magic bullet. It is the powerful mental medicine that can cure some of our ills and enhance our pleasures through life.

(MORE: It Is Now Legal for Women to Wear Pants in Paris)

Women should stop trying to dress like their daughter or younger self. At a certain point, they should cover up arms. Throw away the bikini. And go lighter on the makeup. Too much makeup as we age generally makes us look worse not better. Think thrice about drawing attention to sags and wrinkles. And, oh, consider retiring the red lipstick.

Pre-school colors draw attention to us—as sexy and attractive as red lipstick can be—and should invite us to look into the mirror and see who we really are now, not kid ourselves by seeing our younger or lighter selves or who we think we are or want to be? Want to draw attention to face and especially upper lip wrinkles, try red lipstick. Red is the attention color. That is not really debatable…ask any bull.

(MORE: Reversing Aging: Not as Crazy as You Think)

Before the facelift bell goes off at, say, 60 (though for some it seems to ring at 40), there are a lifetime of simple skin-care rituals people can follow that will delay the bell—from keeping the skin moist through good hydration (drink water, water, water) to cleaning one’s face and pores at night religiously, to using a light moisturizer daily, to avoiding too much sun. Basic routines not rocket science.

Keeping yourself well-groomed can also shave years off your appearance and years off your mental outlook, and nothing is more revealing than one’s hair. Lots happens to our hair as we age, so get a smart cut that fits your age and face and keep it looking good. It is an easy way to look younger and generate compliments that give you a boost.

Certainly in my native France, a woman in her forties and fifties is still alluring and seen as an object of desire and acts the part. She feels it and acts it, but doesn’t pretend she is ageless. She pampers her face with creams and lotions and wants her face to look natural and not tired, and she wants to think of herself as sexy and not old. Sounds good to me.

It is called living bien dans sa peau, comfortably in your own skin.

Mireille Guiliano is the author of French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude.
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