Initial responses: Values driving youth


The emerging responses to our request for material and survey show youth values falling into the following categories (maybe they are similar for many adults):

Relationships – with friends, family, work place people, teachers and include openness, trust, generosity, caring, openness.

Social – relating to the rest of the world – justice, freedom, respect, community, responsibility. abuse of power, discrimination, greed, current generation leaving for future generations

Young people are saying they want more – empathy, love, respect, loyalty of friends, and honesty.

They are already actively applying their values through social media.

Older youth are wanting to be treated like adults. They are looking for a purpose in life with males and females thinking differently. Males more than females are seeking wealth. Females more than males are seeking to make a contribution to society.

The Mission Australia annual survey of 20,207 15 to 19 year olds in 2021 gave the following overview:

As in previous years, responses to the Youth Survey 2021 reveal that, in general, young females have more heightened concerns than young males about some issues and were more likely to
experience certain negative outcomes. This includes in areas such as confidence in achieving study or work goals and barriers to achieving their goals, concerns about coping with stress, mental health and body image, and unfair treatment due to gender. The experiences
and concerns of gender diverse young people were even more heightened in relation to all of these and additional areas.

While the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were connected to education, valued their family and friends and felt positive about the future, they also reported more and deeper challenges than their non-Indigenous peers, including being less likely to
feel happy or very happy with their lives. Particularly concerning is the higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents who reported having been treated unfairly in the past year compared with non-Indigenous respondents (47.1% compared
with 33.6% of non-Indigenous respondents). Half (52.5%) of those who had been treated unfairly said the reason was race/cultural background.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young females had more heightened concerns and were more likely to experience negative outcomes in a number of areas than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young males, including concerns about mental health and related issues. Of particular concern, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female respondents
experienced comparatively low levels of happiness and comparatively high levels of stress.
The marked differences based on gender and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status indicate that policy and service responses to the issues and concerns raised in the Youth Survey need a nuanced approach. The inclusion of data for gender diverse young people this year has
highlighted some particular challenges for this group.

These findings remind us that diversity has to be specifically recognised and included in the development of strategies, programs and policies for young people. It is incumbent on us all – governments, health professionals, community services, businesses, schools, members of the
community – to create welcoming environments that are responsive to the needs of all young people, whatever their background and circumstances. Young people need to be at the centre of policy and service design and development, to bring their unique perspective to bear on issues that affect them and on the development of solutions.

Most important issues:
COVID-19 45.7%
The environment 38.0%
Equity and discrimination 35.4%

Full report of Mission Australia Survey.

Please keep your input to this project coming and thanks for finding time for this.

Paul Inglis


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