Study: Teens more responsible now than in past - FOX 35 News Orlando

Study: Teens more responsible now than in past

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(Saad Faruque/Flickr) (Saad Faruque/Flickr)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Although the media may have you believe differently, a new study says that America's teenagers are actually more responsible now than they have been in the past.

Things have definitely changed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said teens today are making better decisions about sex, smoking, drinking and fighting.

"I agree. I've been hearing less and less about [how] he did this, she did this, and you can definitely tell around high school, it's not like that's what everybody is talking about," said Katie, 15, who gives her parents the credit.

"Yeah. They are really good parents," she said.

However, it's more than just parenting.

The dangers of social media are often publicized, but the upside is instant access to the consequences of risky behavior.

"I don't want to be like them, so I'm going to make the right decisions with my life," said Jenny, 15.

"We can get the information quickly, so that's a good thing," said Kalice, also a teenager.

The Centers for Disease Control said from 1991 to 2011, fewer students in grades 9 through 12 were having sex. When they do engage in sex, though, more were using condoms.

There was also a dramatic drop in teens smoking cigarettes.

"Because I had proper upbringing and I know that I'd be in trouble with my parents if I did something like that, because they do a lot for me," said Mitchell, 17.

"There is so much information available nowadays, via the Internet and social media, that teens are exposed to many more perspectives and don't feel as pressured to comply with peer behavior," said Child Psychotherapist Denise Duval.

"You know what the consequences are, and some people choose not to do it and some people do," said Nathan, 16.

FOX 32's Tisha Lewis reports more teens are wearing seatbelts when riding in a car driven by someone else and fewer are riding with a drunk driver.

"We're starting to realize how important our education is and stuff like that, so we're not really focused on the parties and things, we're focused more on our education," said Gabriele, 14.

Sex among teenagers is down 8.1%. Individuals from the age group 12 to 19 who have ever had sex fell from 54.1% to 46%.

Condom use is up 14.6%. The number of teens who are sexually active that used a condom the previous time they had sex increased from 46.2% to 61.1%.

Drinking is down 9.1%. The amount of teenagers who had ever had at least one drink in their lifetime dropped from 81.6% to 72.5%.

Drinking and driving has decreased 7%. The number of teens who had driven while intoxicated fell from 16.7% to 9.7%.

Fighting decreased 11%. The percentage of teens who had been in a physical fight in the past year dropped from 42.5% to 31.5%.

Finally, smoking has dropped 23.8%. The number of teens who had ever smoked a cigarette fell the most from 70.1% to 46.3%.

Though fewer teens are smoking cigarettes, more teenagers admitted to smoking marijuana at least once - that number has nearly doubled since 1991.

The National Youth Risk Behavior survey is conducted every two years and includes students in public and private schools nationwide.

Trends in the Prevalence of Selected Risk Behaviors and Obesity for All Students National YRBS: 1991-2011

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