Unsupervised Teens Do Poorly In School

A new survey finds that unsupervised teens are four times more likely to be D students than teens supervised every day. The survey, After School for America’s Teens, released by YMCA of the USA, finds that 59 percent of teens are unsupervised after school at least one day in a typical week. And those teens are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity, nearly three times as likely to skip classes at school. They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs.
The survey of 500 teens 14-17 years of age reveals a strong interest in community and neighbourhood-based after school programs. Although many teenagers participate in after school programs, more than half of all teens (52 percent) wish there were more community or neighbourhood-based activities available. Some 62 percent of teens left alone during the week say they would likely participate in after school programs, while two in three teens (67 percent) expressed interest in programs that would improve their grades, develop leadership skills and involve them in the community.
Unsupervised teens are in the ‘Danger Zone’ the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. after school  when being unsupervised can lead to problems with alcohol, drugs, sexual activity and even crime. This danger cuts across race income and family structure, according to the University of Minnesota’s National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the largest-ever survey of American adolescents. Teens who are failing school and “hanging out” with friends are more likely to engage in at-risk behaviours.
The After School survey revealed that teens who do not engage in after school activities are five times more likely to be D students than those who do, while nearly eight in 10 teens (79 percent) who participate in after school programs are A or B students. Only half (52 percent) of teens who do not participate earn such high marks.

Source:  Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Washington, D.C. Feb 2001.

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