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Changing behaviours, changing minds

Teenagers have a lot on their plate. School work, body image, friendships, the list goes on. They are often misunderstood for being "moody" or "glued to their phones". But young people also show behaviours that are really positive, such as maturity, awareness, and drive. They have a lot to be proud of. We take a look at some of these behaviours, and how we can learn from Gen Z. 

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More climate-conscious

A young teenager with white skin and blonde hair tied into a ponytail is standing in a bedroom. There is a bed and some clutter behind them. They are wearing a blue jumper over a white t-shirt, and holding a yellow sign. The sign says SOS, and the 'O' is a painting of Earth. They have a serious expression on their face.

More climate-conscious

Global warming is a serious issue. Young people want to do something about it, for themselves and future generations. In fact, 79% of young people claim to be concerned about environmental issues, says Channel 4.

Some people might put teenagers down for caring about the environment. Greta Thunberg has been bullied online since she was just 15. But young people are showing they care about others as well as themselves, acting selflessly and maturely.

More climate-conscious

If it’s overlooked and not stopped or slowed down soon, then the effects will be irreversible. The future generations will blame us for not stopping it.

More inclusive

Being different is wonderful and makes us who we are. But sometimes people make fun of uniqueness instead of celebrating it. Teenagers can feel pressure to fit in at school or on social media. But according to a UCL study, young people today are more accepting of others than previous generations.

More inclusive

A group of teenagers walking in a park, smiling. There are a range of ethnicities in the group.

More inclusive

Cultural difference is the very thing that you can use to make positive changes that will benefit our communities and wider society.

A lot of young people can still feel marginalised or excluded by their peers. There is still work to be done to help everyone feel safe and included, no matter their sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, or migration status.

A young woman wearing a hijab is looking through a window, appearing concerned.

The new immigration bill's impact

The Illegal Migration Act became law on 20 July 2023. Children and young people will be denied the protection and support they need. Learn about what will happen to them, and how we can keep them safe.

Talking about body image

Talking about body image

For decades, people have compared themselves with the ‘perfect’ body. From paintings to magazines, movies to Barbie dolls. It's difficult at any age, but especially for teenagers. Now with social media, criticism and comparisons can come from anyone, anywhere. Our annual Good Childhood Report shows that young people are less happy with their appearance every year. 

A teenager with light skin and short brown hair looks at their skin in a mirror

Talking about body image

Social media is definitely the biggest impact because otherwise you wouldn’t get ideas [of what to compare yourself to]

But young people are starting to challenge some of the harmful body ideals they see. There are a growing number of social media accounts that celebrate real bodies and raise awareness of photo editing and filters, which is a positive step in the right direction. 

Although young people are better at spotting and calling out altered images, social media and bullying can still play a major role in how they feel about themselves. Building their confidence slowly and patiently is really important, as well as listening to them when they talk about their feelings. Also, encouraging young people to find confidence from places beyond their looks.

A strong sense of justice

Many young people are taking justice into their own hands, fighting for causes they care about. They use social media to spread the word. 70% of young people are involved in a political cause, according to the BBC. Look no further than the boys in Merseyside who wore skirts to school in protest after reports that male teachers were involved in the inspection of female pupils’ skirt lengths. Young people want a future where their wellbeing is put first, and are willing to fight for it.

Young people have been the victim of stereotypes for too long. Older generations should be celebrating and showing their appreciation for the amazing things that young people do. Young people need building up and given the confidence to flourish as young adults.