There are some aspects of young people’s lives that haven’t changed that much over the last 20 years. Take school for example. If we time-travelled back to 1994, school uniforms would largely look the same as they do now, the day would still comprise five or so periods for teaching the same kinds of subjects, and teenagers would still be worrying about their skin.
But while some things remain the same, others are dramatically different. Nearly every young person now has a phone in their pocket - an incredibly sophisticated portal to multiple worlds of entertainment, knowledge, connection, and risk. We’re living in an era where the rapid development of new technology is driving social and cultural transformation, and young people are absorbing this change faster than anyone.
And all of this is shaping their worldview.
This phase of the Translating God project seeks to understand more about what has, and hasn’t changed, for young people We want to put to bed lazy myths and stereotypes, acknowledge the complexity that’s out there and help you ‘see’ young people and the worlds they inhabit with more clarity and compassion.
To do so we have pursued two main questions.
- What are the primary ways that young people’s lives have changed over the last 10-12 years?
- What shifts in wider culture and society ae driving and defining these changes?
Review of trend data
Phase 1 involved reviewing a wide range of published data relating to young people’s lives. We wanted to know how life is different for a 15-year-old today, compared with someone the same age in 2010. So, we focused almost exclusively on studies with a ‘time-series’ design. This means that the same questions were asked of young people in a particular age-bracket every year, or every few years.
So it’s not just that we love a line graph (though who doesn’t?). We are trying to tell a story about key trends over time.
We aimed to collect, synthesize, and summarize data from the best quality studies produced over the last 10-15 years. This means we have prioritised evidence produced by government departments, established longitudinal and panel studies and research projects with large sample sizes and robust methodologies.
This report draws heavily on the following data sources.