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Youth Culture

Culture is the system of shared symbolic and the process of transforming and maintaining those systems; it is the complex whole that consists custom, arts, beliefs, morals, laws, knowledge and any other habits and capabilities acquired by an individual as a member of a given society. Culture is transmitted via social learning in human societies.

Youth culture is the means by which adolescents live, and the practices, norms and values they share. Youth culture’s elements include interests and styles, behaviours and beliefs. An emphasis on sports, vocabulary, dating, popular music and clothes differentiate adolescents from other age groups, placing them in a position that others perceive as distinct of their own. Within the culture of youth, there are many constantly and distinct changing youth sub-cultures. These subculture's values, styles, behaviours and norms may differ from general youth culture and significantly vary.

Existence of youth culture

There is a heated debate on whether youth culture is real or is just a fiction. Some researchers argue that youth morals and values are similar to those of their parents, which implies that youth culture is not a distinct culture. Seeing the existence of what seems to be a youth culture nowadays does not suggest that this phenomenon stretches to all young people’s generations. In addition, peer influences significantly vary by sex, between contexts, social status and age, rendering a single youth culture impossible, if not difficult to define.

Other researchers argue for the existence of youth culture by identifying the presence of definite elements of youth society that represent a distinct culture that significantly vary from that of their parents. Based on terror management theory, culture is generated from an attempt to cope with the mortality knowledge. Researches considerably use this theory to support the existence of youth culture. The researchers noted that if youth culture serves to aid adolescents cope with problems of fitness and vulnerability, then mortality reminders should lead to increased adherence to cultural beliefs and practises of the youth ascertaining that youth culture is, in fact, a distinct culture.

Impacts of youth culture on adolescents

For many years, adults have associated youth subculture with moral degradation and shifting values in younger generations. Youth culture has regularly been characterised by embodying values and norms that are in conflict with those of the world of adults. Common concerns associated with youth culture include engaging extensively in leisure, lack of interest in education and involvement in risky behaviours like sexual activity and substance use.

These views have significantly led to adults’ perception that adolescent’s values and norms are an attack on moral values and standards of the current society; and this has resulted in creation of parenting strategies that serves to promote older generation’s value into adolescents or younger generation.