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Young people feeling robbed of their youth, new report finds

Monash University 2 mins read

A new report from the Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice (CYPEP), has found that young people are missing out on being young.

Data collected for the 2022 Australian Youth Barometer was analysed by members of CYPEP's Youth Reference Group to provide deeper insights into what it means to be young, and why young people are missing out.

Cost of living pressures and balancing work and study has meant that 45 per cent of Australians aged 18-24 often feel like they are missing out on being young. 

Challenges identified by young people revolve around four key areas: finances, work, education, and long-term planning. These challenges are closely interconnected and linked to feelings of missing out on being young.

Key findings of the report included:

  • 69 per cent of young people who often worried about having enough to eat often felt that they were missing out on being young;
  • 60 per cent who often experienced financial difficulties often felt that they were missing out on being young;
  • 51 per cent who were unemployed often felt that they were missing out on being young;
  • 50 per cent who were unlikely to stay in their current accommodation often felt that they were missing out on being young; and
  • 55 per cent who felt that it was unlikely they would have children in the future felt that they were missing out on being young.

Youth Reference Group co-author, Andrew Leap, said, “This report has captured the constantly changing and challenging dynamics young people must endure to survive, thrive and experience ‘being young’. It exemplifies their resilience and optimism despite the lack of institutional support. But most importantly, it guides decision-makers to move forward and support future generations to prosper from the perspective of young people.”

Insufficient support was also associated with feelings of missing out:

  • 56 per cent reported that there is not enough or barely enough government support for mental health, and often felt that they were missing out on being young;
  • 55 per cent reported that there is not enough or barely enough government support for education, and often felt that they were missing out on being young; and
  • 51 per cent reported there is not enough or barely enough government support for employment, and often felt that they were missing out on being young.

Co-author and Director of the Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice, Professor Lucas Walsh said the report highlights how young people must be at the centre of this discussion about how they can be better supported.

“Young people, locked up during the pandemic, navigating a hostile employment environment and upended studies, have told us they have missed out on being young. They’ve been denied key life-experiences during a critical period of development in their lives,” said Professor Walsh.
“This report explores what missing out on being young means by asking young people themselves and what we need to better support the pandemic generation.”

Young people today face unprecedented challenges and this report captures their struggles and the necessity for targeted interventions to help them thrive.

To view the report, please visit: https://doi.org/10.26180/26132824

- ENDS -

RESEARCHERS

The report was authored by Thuc Bao Huynh, Blake Cutler, Zihong Deng, and Lucas Walsh in partnership with Youth Reference Group members Andrew Leap, Candice Zheng, Mark Yin, Rebecca Walters and Steven Banh.

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