Cora Breuner, who is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, has her own explanation for why teens are less inclined to have sexual intercourse. “The more kids know about it, the less mystique there is about it,” she told Science News, and “the more they want to wait.”
The same report also found a significant drop in the number of kids using illicit drugs. In 2007, 22.6 percent of the students surveyed said they had used one or more illicit drug, compared to only 14 percent in 2017. Fewer kids than ever are using injectable illicit drugs — the most dangerous of all. “In 2017, 1.5 percent of high school students had ever injected any illegal drug into their body using a needle,” the report reads.
Other findings paint a less optimistic overview. Bullying is still a problem in American schools, with 19 percent of students reporting they had been bullied in 2017, compared to 19.9 percent in 2009. Another problematic metric that has flatlined is the percentage of students who had been forced into sex at some point — around 7 percent, which includes 11 percent of girls and 3.5 percent of boys.
More teens are feeling depressed and/or seriously considering suicide. The number of teens who said they persistently feel sad or hopeless rose from 28.5 percent in 2007 to 31.5 percent in 2017. Those who said they considered suicide rose to 17 percent in 2017 compared to 14.5 percent in 2007.
According to experts, social media and growing lack of connectedness in American society may be responsible for these trends.