How many people here are teenagers

Press

Young people feel that they have not been heard enough and not taken seriously / study now in the print offer of the Federal Agency for Civic Education

The SINUS Youth Study 2020 “How do young people tick?” Examines the worlds of 14 to 17 year old teenagers in Germany every four years. The questions of the new study were: Which topics are important to the youth generation? How do young people see the future? And last but not least: How do young people cope with the exceptional situation of the Corona crisis? The study is available from the Federal Agency for Civic Education / bpb as a book or free of charge as an ePub: www.bpb.de/311857.

The younger generation has become more serious - more serious on the one hand, and more concerned on the other. This applies to dealing with the challenges of the corona pandemic and even more so to the threat posed to them by the global climate crisis. In both issues and in general, the younger generation does not feel that they are being taken seriously or represented. The young people's optimism about the future is subdued, especially in the uneducated worlds.

Too little political representation


Many teenagers feel they are neither heard nor taken seriously by politics. They complain about the young generation's lack of participation in political decision-making processes and the lack of representation in the political arena. From the youth perspective, politics is primarily dominated and shaped by “old white men”. General politician bashing is still rare. Political actors and institutions are judged differently. Many young people show understanding and empathy for politicians who do a “hard, stressful job”.

The solution to the climate crisis as a central question of intergenerational justice

A feeling of powerlessness and lack of influence, little knowledge and limited time budgets are barriers to global engagement by young people. However, the large participation of teenagers in the Fridays for Future demonstrations gives hope that young people will be more open to global engagement.

Young people have long identified the solution to the climate crisis as a central question of intergenerational justice and in the demonstrations they express their impotence and indignation (“We are here, we are loud because you are stealing the future!”). The youthful zeitgeist is green and conservative (that is, conservative in the original sense). The climate crisis is not taken seriously by those responsible (politics, business, older generation) from a youth perspective; possible solutions to problems are delayed or even thwarted.

The basic feeling of politics is gloomy

Aesthetics and politics are separate worlds for young people. Most of the respondents believed that if there is something beautiful about politics, it is not the appearance or the form, but the content: It is considered good to help people and to stand up for others. It is nice when people get together and do something for the community. Solidarity, fairness and justice, democracy and freedom of expression are beautiful.

Youth in the Corona crisis: annoyed by the restrictions, but compassionate and responsible


Solidarity with others also plays a central role in the Corona crisis. The young people surveyed are not afraid of infecting themselves with the virus, but they fear infecting other people (older people, grandparents, etc.). Most see it as their social and health responsibility to take the crisis seriously and to care for others. The restrictions on personal freedom and the reduced range of leisure activities annoy many young people, but they recognize the need to come to terms with them. The subjective concern of young people by the Corona crisis is limited. Most do not rate the impact of the pandemic on their personal life as particularly severe so far. This applies in particular to socially disadvantaged living environments.

Young people in the crisis give politicians good marks. They trust the actors and see the measures taken as comprehensible and proportionate. What is criticized, however, is the premature reopening of schools in the opinion of the young people and that the opportunity was missed to win the trust of the young people in this debate by letting them have their say.

The "normal bourgeois biography" is the leitmotif of many teenagers

Many respondents complained about an “everyone for themselves” mentality and the lack of cohesion in society. They are afraid of increasing polarization, hatred and aggression - which especially young people with a lack of education often experience in their living environments. In the majority of young people today, good, secure living conditions are more important than status, success and advancement. A dominant wish for the future of many young people is to arrive in the middle of society, material wishes and goals are put into perspective.

Opportunities for sport

The confusion of relationships in the world intensifies the social megatrend “re-grounding” - the longing for belonging, stability and orientation. Here is an opportunity for sport, because for young people, in addition to having fun and working out, connection and community are among the most important sports motives. The teenagers particularly emphasize the integrative power of football.

Young people think the school is “quite okay”, but see little opportunity to help shape it


For the respondents, school is not a place that they would most like to avoid; But the school is not a place of wellbeing either. In general, it becomes clear that young people feel comfortable in school above all when they are socially well integrated, have good relationships with the teachers and can actively participate in the lessons. Pupils primarily feel uncomfortable when they make mistakes or when the pressure to perform increases. When it comes to participation, the young people give their schools a bad report. Opportunities for participation in school are hardly seen. School is experienced as a static system that can hardly be designed.

Young people look for a positive work environment


The career aspirations of the young people surveyed are more down-to-earth and realistic. Enjoyment of work, self-fulfillment, a varied working day and a positive working environment have high priority for young people. They strive for a good work-life balance with enough time for their friends and family. The hedonistic mentality is on the decline The hedonistic mentality that was once so typical for young people continues to decline: partying, fun and action are becoming less important. The era of generation-shaping youth (sub) cultures seems to be over for good - even if there are still niche scenes. The values ​​of performance and personal responsibility are very popular with young people, even if at the same time skepticism towards the neoliberal competitive paradigm has increased. The result is that having time for yourself or “chilling out”, as young people call it, is becoming more and more important.

Study design

The present study is a qualitative-empirical inventory of the socio-cultural constitution of the young generation. The most diverse aspects of young people's everyday and life reality (school, career choice, health, sport, politics, etc.) are not only described in the publication, but also illustrated by means of a large number of personal testimonials from the young people. As in the previous studies, the SINUS Institute draws on a broad methodological spectrum: In addition to the evaluation and interpretation of the exploratory interviews, the research report contains numerous image documents such as sketches, photos and collages as well as a large number of original quotes from the young people surveyed - authentic Insights across all young worlds.

Client and partner:

"How do young people tick?" Study carried out by the German Sports Youth and the DFL Foundation by the SINUS Institute, Heidelberg / Berlin.

Further information:

The study was published as a printed book in the publication series (volume no. 10531, provision flat rate € 4.50) of the Federal Agency for Civic Education / bpb. It is also available for download free of charge as an ePub: https://www.bpb.de/311857

Contact for press inquiries and review copies: [email protected]

The press release as PDF.