What is Youth Culture?

ByJodie Gibbs

What is Youth Culture?

What is youth culture? This is a question asked by many sociologists, psychologists, educators, youth experts and others. Youth can refer to teenagers or children, though the concept may also be used of young adults (adolescents) or individuals in their early twenties (youthful). There are many definitions for what is youth culture, but the one that seems to fit most people’s definition is “a unique pattern of behavior, beliefs, values and organization that arise from and feed upon the existing culture”.

Youth culture is how adolescents, young adults and other young people live, think, and the social norms, beliefs, practices and systems that they share. Culture is the common, shared symbolic systems, practices and beliefs of the older generations. When combined with adolescence, it provides a background for emerging adulthood and responsibility for shaping it. Thus, it has important effects on the life chances and choices of today’s youth. It shapes their values, beliefs, aspirations, and behaviors.

In the United States, at least, much of what is youth culture is a product of the history and experiences of generations past. The American Heritage Dictionary defines culture as “the general attitude, outlook, lifestyle, beliefs, patterns of thought, a mode of conduct, etc.” According to this view, culture is a set of values and beliefs that are shared by the people of a nation or ethnic group. The book, “What Is Your Culture?” by Dr. Peterillard and Rosemary Eberle, provides a helpful overview of how we understand ourselves and our national heritage.

The book defines youth culture as a shared set of values and beliefs, normally changing and developing through time. A key tenet of the book is, “In all societies and ages, people have always strived to modify and control their own cultural experience.” What is youth culture? it is a shared set of values and beliefs that guide today’s youth down the road of self-identification and choice.

Today’s youth have been shaped by their parents and other adult role models since they are very young. Consequently, today’s youth are deeply influenced by their parents’ cultural values. What is youth culture? it is a shared set of values and beliefs that guide today’s youth down the road of self-identification and choice. Today’s youth are confronted with significant changes in their family life, school, neighborhood, work and leisure. The rapid growth of the baby boomer generation and changes in families and children’s lives have all combined to create a very different future for today’s youth.

Can you hear the voices of the youth in all of us? Is your own voice, your children’s voices, your friends voices sounding in harmony with the thoughts and values of the youth of today? Yes! All of these voices are sounding out in unison in what is now called the American Youth Culture. The American youth are experiencing and expressing new ideas and feelings on issues ranging from drugs and alcohol use to teen pregnancy and violence; and on important issues like racial and social equality to religious tolerance.

What is youth culture today? It is an ever expanding dialogue between today’s youth and their parents and the educational system. It is an ongoing effort by citizens, educators, caregivers, researchers and experts from all corners of our nation to understand the minds and hearts of our youth and to learn what it means to be a successful citizen in this challenging time.

This broad and complex subject matter requires us to ask questions, consider possibilities and draw from each other’s experience and insight. In fact, there is so much information about what is youth culture that it would take pages to write about it in its entirety. We recommend that you visit our site which will provide you with the information you need to make sound decisions about what is youth culture and how we can all participate in making this country a more sensible and tolerant place. Please visit our site. You will find much valuable information on this critical issue.

About the author

Jodie Gibbs contributor