The Prince’s Trust released their annual report titled the ‘Youth Index 2013’ which focuses on the views of 16 to 25-year-olds in the UK. The disturbing results should be of concern to the government and society.
Some of the survey’s main results are:
- 22% of young people did not have someone to talk to about their problems while they were growing up.
- Almost 22% of young people feel they have no future due to the recession.
- 31% of young people ‘always’ or ‘often’ feel lonely,
- Although young people use social media as peer support, 65% would prefer to talk to someone in person than online if they had a problem.
- Young people who did not grow up in a supportive family environment are twice as likely to not be in education, employment or training.
- One in 10 young people (10 per cent) feel they cannot cope with day-to-day life.
Although we should be concerned about these results, they are hardly surprising when we consider how the UK has been governed for the past 20 years or so. Government after government have done nothing to enable a healthy and inclusive society.
It is inevitable that young people (and many others in society) become disillusioned, confused, and wonder what their purpose or future may be when governments constantly give contradictory messages in which, on one hand, the government expects its citizens to behave in a certain way, then on the other. the government acts to the contrary. On one hand, the government sends messages of caring for society, and on the other treats citizens like a trading commodity.
Although we use the word ‘society’, the fact is that society only exists in the literal sense, and the spirit of society has long been lost. The young people in the survey have lived their short lives in this spiritless environment that does nothing to help them find their place in the world or give them any real value – they become lost.
Young people are learning about life, and if there is no real support from parents or their community where they are able to find answers, then it becomes very difficult to make sense of a confusing world.
A few contradictions young people face are:
- You must train to work – but there are no jobs.
- You must aspire to the lifestyle portrayed in the media to be accepted – but you have no money.
- You must be an economically productive member of society – so society won’t accept you because you are a drain on the finances of the country.
- You must buy lots of things you don’t really need – but if you are lucky enough to get a job, the pay will be worse than twenty years ago, so you will have to go into debt to get them.
- Violence is unacceptable – but we will wage war and kill innocent people when we feel like it.
- You must not abuse drugs or alcohol – but celebrities can.
- You are poor and do as we say – we are rich and can do what we want.
- And so on, and so on.
The contradictory messages of government are enough to send anyone without life experience into a confused state.
Young people need guidance and help to understand what they feel and why they feel it. They do not need to be made outcasts, or made to feel worthless. The future of the world is in their hands, and as they become disillusioned they will give up trying to find seemingly impossible answers. The effect this will have on the future can only be imagined, but it certainly won’t be good.