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Today’s teens are on a slow road to adulthood, putting off risky behaviors from drinking to sex, but also delaying jobs, driving, dating and other steps towards independence, according to a new study based on 40 years of survey data.This file photo shows a group of junior high and high school students raise signs showing their support for an ordinance passed by the city council to create two special curfew zones Tuesday, March 14, 2006, in El Paso, Texas.Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2015.The 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey [2.77 MB,180 Pages, 508] found that nearly 12% of high school females reported physical violence and nearly 16% reported sexual violence from a dating partner in the 12 months* before they were surveyed. As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by experiences in their relationships.You can find much more information about your privacy choices in our privacy policy.Even if you choose not to have your activity tracked by third parties for advertising services, you will still see non-personalized ads on our site.

The lure of the internet – which might keep kids glued to screens instead of out driving and dating – probably has had some recent impact, Twenge said.

Compared to teens from the 70s, 80s and 90s, today’s teens “are taking longer to engage in both the pleasures and the responsibilities of adulthood,” said Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the lead author on the study published Tuesday in the journal “The whole developmental pathway has slowed down,” she said, with today’s 18-year-olds living more like 15-year-olds once did.

The study relies on seven nationally representative surveys repeated with 8 million teens, ages 13-19, over several decades.

While people in their early 20s now often act more like teens, young teens often act more like children, Twenge said.

Eighth and ninth graders are less likely to have sex, drink, date, go out without parents or work for pay.

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