WASHINGTON – There's a huge difference between Charles Marshall,16,of Millsboro,Del.,and his little brother … 15 years. But Marshall's little brother is still one of his favorite people to be around.
“I have the most fun when I'm with him,” said Marshall,a junior at Sussex Senior High School. “He just started to walk.”
Marshall was one of six student panelists who on Tuesday discussed the results of a nationwide telephone survey of 1,055 teens,ages 13 to 19,sponsored by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. Hart Research Associates conducted the survey,which had a 3 percent margin of error,between April 29 and May 5.
Now in its seventh year,the “State of Our Nation’s Youth” report tracks the views of teenagers on a variety of subjects.
“These students seem to be very family-centered,” said Peter D. Hart,president of Hart Research Associates. “Times call for a sense of unity. Kids are looking to their families as a touchstone.”
Fifty percent of the students said that,if they could,they would spend more time with their families,although more than two-thirds said they spend most of their time with a group of friends.
When it comes to family,“I'm surprised that the majority of youth feel the same way I do,” Marshall said.
Students who said they spent most of their time hanging out with their families is down from 16 percent in 2002 to 8 percent.
Even 52 percent of high school juniors and seniors – who are usually old enough to drive – said they want to spend more time with their families.
Only 3 percent said they don't get along well with their parents,while 74 percent said they get along very well or extremely well with their parents.
So what do parents and their high school-aged children argue about?
Arguments about students keeping their bedrooms clean topped the list at 33 percent. Only 4 percent of students said their parents argue with them about appearance.
“You know things must be changing in America,” Hart said.
The survey showed that choosing a family member as a role model has been number one for the past two years – 44 percent chose a family member over an entertainer,teacher,sports figure or religious leader.
Students are looking to their families for career guidance as well. While 50 percent said their own experiences have had the greatest impact on their career choices,31 percent said a family member had the greatest impact.
More than half of those surveyed said they had “a great deal” of confidence in the federal government,compared to just one-third of adults who responded to a survey Hart did for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. Three-quarters of the students said they wanted to learn more about the world. Two-thirds said they rely on television for news,while half rely on the Internet.