Do you think young people today are much worse than in the days of our grandparents? A group of us teeners have been discussing this. We are irritated by remarks that we young people have to be warned, watched. and disciplined much more than teeners of previous generations.
I, too, am irritated by some of those remarks though I believe that in not a few instances they arc made by well-meaning folk who arc disturbed by things they see and hear. There is one heartening fact we should recognize immediately and that is that last year (1958) there were about 18 million boys and girls in the United States, between the ages of 10 and 17, who were not picked up by the police for any crime whatsoever. Of course, that doesn’t prove everything, but it does refute the soap judgments of fanatics who would have us believe that most boys and girls today in that age bracket are delinquent, disrespectful, and untrustworthy.
On the other hand, I do believe that many teeners today are exhibiting n serious want of self-respect in public and that this fact accounts for much of the criticism and suspicion that has been aroused against them. One has only to observe young couples in our automobiles on public highways. The indecent lack of reserve that can be witnessed in broad daylight makes one shudder at the thought of what goes on in those cars after darkness has set in. We used to argue against the public dance on the ground of its encouragement of improper physical contact. I fear the automobile has become a much greater occasion for such physical familiarities. And what stuns me is that so many parents appear to be blind to that fact.