PARENTS should not worry much about their teenage children becoming too liberated, because adolescents nowadays are actually more conservative than their elders.

A survey presented by the McCann Worldgroup Philippines, a group of advertising companies, last Oct. 14 at the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) audio-visual room reported that respondents in the 12 to 19 age bracket had become more conservative than their older counterparts and had developed more profound values on family and education.

“Today’s youth are more conservative in issues involving pre-marital sex, drugs, and even abortion,” McCann managing director Fernando Villar said. “Most (82 per cent) of the teenage respondents would rather wait for the ‘right time’, the ‘right place’, and would rather say no (to pre-marital sex) than disappoint their families.”

Student respondents also showed an overwhelming 22-minute increase in their studying time per day, from 100 minutes in the study conducted in year 2000.

Villar added that teenagers also worry about more serious issues now such as pollution, drugs, and crime.

“Compared to five years ago when teenagers only had two items on their worry list, it rose to 19 items this year other than failing to provide for their families and growing alone. The top three things the youth worry about are pollution, drugs, and being a crime victim,” Villar said.

Going digital

The study further revealed that Filipinos, regardless of age bracket, generally prefer virtual interaction and communication such as text messaging, e-mail, Internet chat, and surfing rather than personal interaction.

“The outcome is not generational; it is more like a popular trend as Filipinos of all ages have easy access through cellular phones and internet cafes,” Villar said.

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Proof of the digital trend is the fact that cellular phone prepaid loads and Internet surfing are now the top products for Filipino consumers, edging out soft drinks which had been topping the list since their introduction in 1881.

Similarly, more Filipinos now prefer to spend their leisure time immersed in the virtual reality of computer games rather than engaged in physical sports. Also, the number of respondents who actually spend time with their family significantly dropped from 38 per cent five years ago to 18 per cent this year.

The study was conducted using questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, and photo diaries detailing the respondents’ thoughts and photographs. The survey covered a national sample of 2000 household representatives aged 12 to 60 starting January this year. It had a margin of error of plus-minus four percentage points.

McCann chairman emeritus Emily Abrera said that unlike the surveys conducted in 1992 and 2000, which were presented to non-government organizations, the recent study was presented to an academic audience to correct any flaw in the research. Joining the CFAD faculty were Advertising professors from Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and Far Eastern University, among others. Marc Laurenze C. Celis

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