Source: The Mercury, 3 March, 1997, p.2
THEY play hard, work hard and enjoy spending their money. Today's teenagers are a gener ation brought up in the fast paced world of commercialism and information technology. Researchers say teenagers are under greater pressures as they strive to get the best education they can, earn money to spend on the coolest fashion brands and entertainment, and also take on greater responsibilities at home because of changes to the family unit. They are the most educated generation yet-70% now finish Year 12 compared to around 45% 10 years ago-and have access to information from around the world exposing them instantly to global trends and influences. They are brand and image conscious and marketing savvy and armed with a much higher disposable income that has made them a prime target for advertisers. Each week Australians aged between 10 and 17 spend up wards of $75 million, an average of $37, with those over 15 having around $80 a week to spend according to research from AMR Quantum Harris. That compares with an aver- age of $5 about 20 years ago. Trends in Australia have be come product driven, and when today's teen makes a choice against the grain it virtually amounts to a personal statement of individuality. "It's all about the publicity," Sydney 17-year-old Nadia Van Ewik said. "It's important to be individual, but it's that 'in your face' stuff that you notice and that you pick up." To earn the money to spend on the main areas of clothes and entertainment around a third of teens still in full-time education have part-time jobs. The part- time employment rate for those aged 15 to 19 is four times higher than 20 years ago. "They have a lot on their plate," said youth researcher Joanne Turner, from advertising agency Mojo Partners. "Along with all of that they are expected to do lots of other stuff too because of the break down of the traditional nuclear family," Ms Turner said. Ms Turner said that to cope with the high pace teens were resorting to drugs and alcohol- and the new trend of extreme sports was also linked.
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