Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society's margins, all of us will be impoverished. Kofi Annan Based on data collected by Young Life and Times - the longest running annual cross-sectional attitude survey among any of the UK or Ireland!AZs young people C this book is a rich resource for anyone interested in teenagers!AZ attitudes and viewpoints over the last decade. It builds on the editors!AZ previous publication Young people in post-conflict Northern Ireland, (RHP, 2008) but focuses mostly on data collected since then. While the young people who replied to the survey are likely to have come across some form of sectarianism, they have no active memory of the worst conflict-related atrocities. Thus, they can be regarded as the first post-conflict generation. But, whilst growing up in a society coming out of conflict sets adolescents from Northern Ireland apart from their counterparts in other parts of the UK and Ireland, a 16 year-old in Belfast also deals with the same issues that teenagers face elsewhere.
They experience negativity in the media and in their neighbourhoods and are much more associated C either as perpetrators or victims C with substance misuse, violence, promiscuity, risk-taking and anti-social behaviour than with the positive contribution they make to society, for example as volunteers, informal carers, or as creative artists. Featuring contributions from academics and social policy makers, all nationally and internationally recognised experts in their fields, it explores: !n perceptions of, and attitudes to, community relations !n rights and democratic participation, specifically the extent to which young people have been involved in meaningful decision making and in what contexts; and the effects participation has on their happiness in school and on their health in general !n mental health, including self-harm and suicidal ideation, and its relation to social work policy and practice !n loneliness, and how it relates to the mental health and wellbeing of young people !n play and leisure activities, and inhibiting factors, and the link with young people!AZs overall sense of who they are their personal development !n sexual grooming and sexual exploitation !n the positive contributions that 16 year olds make to society through volunteering.
This record of their coming of age is of significant importance in Northern Ireland, as well as in other communities looking to move on from past struggles. A chapter by 16 year-old Ewan Nixon also illustrates the challenges facing young people everywhere. Highlighting the influential role that adults can have on adolescents, both positively and negatively, at times when they struggle to find their own space in an adult dominated world, it is a powerful reminder of why we must all listen.
Publisher: Russell House Publishing Ltd