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The declines appeared across race, geographic, and socioeconomic lines, and in rural, urban, and suburban areas.

To be sure, more than half of teens still engage in these activities, but the majorities have slimmed considerably.

Between 19, 86 per cent of high school seniors had gone on a date; between 20 only 63 per cent had, the study found.

During the same period, the portion who had ever earned money from working plunged from 76 to 55 per cent.

When 17-year-old Quattro Musser hangs out with friends, they don’t drink beer or cruise around in cars with their dates.

Rather, they stick to G-rated activities such as rock-climbing or talking about books.

In recent decades parents have become more restrictive about independent activities, and laws in some states have codified this, banning children from going out in public or staying home without adult accompaniment.(Legislation has also delayed another adult activity: In the 1970s the legal drinking age was as young as 18 in some states; it is now 21 almost universally.)To Daniel Siegel, an adolescent psychiatrist and author of , it makes sense that adolescents would “remodel” their brains to adapt to a society that has changed since the 19th century.“In a culture that says, ‘Okay, you’re going to go to high school, go to college, go to graduate school, and then get an internship, and you’re not going to really be responsible till your late 20s,’ well then the brain will respond accordingly,” he said.

They are in good company, according to a new study showing that teenagers are increasingly delaying activities that had long been seen as rites of passage into adulthood.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Child Development, found that the percentage of adolescents in the U. who have a driver’s licence, who have tried alcohol, who date, and who work for pay has plummeted since 1976, with the most precipitous decreases in the past decade.

“Even in families whose parents didn’t have a college education…families are smaller, and the idea that children need to be carefully nurtured has really sunk in.”The postponement of “adult activities” could not be attributed to more homework or extracurricular activities, the study said, noting that teens today spend fewer hours on homework and the same amount of time on extracurriculars as they did in the 1990s (with the exception of community service, which has risen slightly).

Nor could the use of smartphones and the Internet be entirely the cause, the report said, since the decline began before they were widely available.


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