The NYA Blog
15 September 2009
Party political conferences? Strictly Come Dancing or the X Factor? Or a night out with your mates? Or none of the above? Which would you choose and what would influence your choice?
It seems that one in four teenagers admit they are more influenced by celebrities than people they know. And musicians, sports stars and actors are the most popular role models with reality TV celebrities, models and entrepreneurs all higher in the rankings than politicians. Perhaps no great surprises with that last one.
The top choice for individuals teenagers look up to within the community was family members, followed by sports coaches , GPs and teachers. No mention of youth workers unfortunately although, perhaps surprisingly, the police do make the long list. And, after hanging out with mates, which is by far the most appealing activity (75 per cent put it top) comes watching television.
One in ten respondents though said they spent most of their free time playing sport.
I always find the results thrown up by these surveys interesting, although perhaps they don’t add vastly to the sum of human knowledge. And, as the cynics will always remind you, torture the statistics for long enough and they’ll tell you anything.
But there was a more concerning aspect of this particular survey, which was carried out for Barclays Spaces for Sports and spoke to 2,700 13 to 18-year-olds. And that was that more than half (59 per cent in fact) said they felt no connection with their local community.
What a frightening statistic. In stark terms six out of ten young people feel detached from where they live.
Rachel Barber, who is the head of global community investment at Barclays, hit the nail on the head when she commented ‘the fact that so many teenagers feel disenfranchised and detached is something that should concern us all.’ She continued: ‘Sport clearly doesn’t provide all the answers. But this research along with tangible benefits we’ve seen from our Spaces for Sports programme, show it can be a popular and effective way of tackling these problems.’
I’d have to agree. So, well done Barclays for doing your bit for young people and sport. But perhaps the rest of us can do a bit more for those whose motivation doesn’t come from that particular direction. There’s clearly plenty to go at.
Andy Hopkinson is with the Media Services team at
The NYA. He can be contacted at email@example.com