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You might feel that the teenage daughter or your son is growing too quickly, but hold on, a new research shows that teenagers today are growing slowly than their predecessors. According to the study, today an 18-year old is behaving like 15-year-olds of yesteryears.
During the study, the researchers examined how often teenagers engaged in activities that adults do and that children do not, including dating, working for pay, going out without parents, driving and having sex.
Seven large surveys of 8.3 million teenagers in the age group of 13-19 year olds between 1976 and 2016 were taken into consideration for the study.
The surveys were nationally representative, reflecting the population of US teenagers in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic region.
In the surveys, teenagers were asked how they used their time, including their engagement in one or more adult activities, allowing researchers to compare teens in the 2010s to teenagers in the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s and 1970s.
The study found that today's adolescents are less likely than their predecessors to take part in activities typically undertaken by adults.
The researchers also examined how changes in family size, life expectancy, education and the economy may have influenced the speed at which teenagers take on adult activities.
The trend toward engaging in fewer adult activities cannot be explained by time spent on homework or extracurricular activities because time doing those activities decreased among eighth and tenth graders and was steady among twelfth graders and college students, the researchers said.
The decline may be linked to the time teenagers spend online, which increased markedly, the authors noted.
"Our study suggests that teenagers today are taking longer to embrace both adult responsibilities (such as driving and working) and adult pleasures (such as sex and alcohol)," study co-author Heejung Park, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, said.
The findings of the study was recently published in the journal Child Development.