Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’

Fact Sheet: U.S. Teens, Politics, and Information Literacy

This is the latest in a series of posts on teaching controversial political issues to students. The previous post in this series discussed how educators can choose controversial political issues ethically.

In December 2016, the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research polled 13- to 17-year-old U.S. teenagers on politics and government, civic engagement, and information literacy. Here is an overview of the results:

Politics and government. Overall, teenagers have a pessimistic view of U.S. politics and government. About 8 in 10 believe the nation is divided on important values. Many teenagers find little commonality with those who are different from them, such as people who live in other geographical areas and people in other political parties. Additionally, a majority of teenagers have negative views on the system and functioning of government, including how political leaders are chosen and the ability of government to solve problems. Despite teenagers’ pessimistic views, over half believe that the American dream still exists, and most have positive or neutral views on the future of the country.

Civic engagement. Teenagers have a high level of civic engagement. In fact, almost 9 in 10 teenagers have taken part in at least one civic activity, the most popular being volunteering and raising money for a cause. Fewer teenagers are involved politically, perhaps unsurprisingly given their age and their views on politics and government. A majority have never expressed their political beliefs online, and a whopping 88 percent have never participated in a protest, march, or demonstration (though this may have changed some given the high number of protests, marches, and demonstrations in recent months).

Information literacy. A majority of teenagers reported learning about information literacy skills in school, but a sizable number of teenagers said they have not. One-third had never discussed how to evaluate the trustworthiness of online content. Some 40 percent never discussed the value of evaluating evidence used to support opinions. And 42 percent never discussed how to find varying social and political viewpoints online.

There are some lessons to be learned from this poll. First, civic engagement is high among teenagers, but this fails to translate into political participation. Educators should focus on teaching students how they can be a part of the political system and effect change. Second, teenagers believe that they have little in common with those who are different from them. Educators can help break down barriers and close this empathy gap by exposing students to different people, ideas, and viewpoints. And third, too few students are learning the necessary information literacy skills, especially as they relate to cyberspace. With the spread of fake news, educators should prioritize strengthening information literacy skills for the digital age.

Stay tuned for more posts in this series on teaching controversial political issues to students.

Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.

SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.

February Is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

“Teen dating violence is a serious violation that can affect a young person’s safety, development, and sense of comfort. Perpetrated by a current or past intimate partner, dating violence takes many forms, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, and can occur in person or through electronic communication and social media.….Approximately 1 in 10 teenagers reports being physically or sexually victimized by a dating partner, and too many other victims do not report it….During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we recognize the urgency needed in addressing this problem and recommit to preventing it by educating our youth about its dangers and consequences, and reaffirm the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse.”A Proclamation by President Barack Obama, January 29, 2016

February Is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February Is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
[Public Domain] via Administration for Children & Families/
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

While many people may think of February as Black History Month, or associate it with Valentine’s Day, it is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The teen dating violence awareness and prevention initiative was spearheaded by teenagers across the nation who organized to take a stand to stop teen dating violence. In 2005, the importance of addressing teen dating violence was highlighted by its inclusion in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Now supported by dozens of national, state and local organizations, the call to end teen dating violence was formally recognized by both Houses of Congress in 2006 when they declared the first full week in February “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.” In 2010, Congress first dedicated the entire month of February to teen dating violence awareness and prevention.

SIRS Leading Issue: Dating Violence/Date Rape by ProQuest LLC <br /> via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Leading Issue: Dating Violence/Date Rape
by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Facilitate student research on teen dating violence by directing them to SIRS Researcher’s Leading Issue: Dating Violence. The SIRS Leading Issues feature offers comprehensive coverage of over 350 of the most researched and newsworthy topics for student researchers. Editorially created Topic Overview pages help build a solid foundation for understanding the issue through its background and history and by putting it into context. Terms to Know and Additional Resources are also available here. The Perspectives section features quotes from prominent figures on the issue, as well as Critical Thinking & Analysis questions to facilitate discussion. Essential Questions promote Common Core-aligned standards such as critical thinking, problem solving, information literacy and analytical skills that students need to succeed. Other research tools include a Timeline, and Global Impact and Statistics sections.

Delve into more information and resources on teen dating violence at these editorially-selected websites available on SIRS WebSelect:

Break the Cycle

Love Is Respect: National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline

That’s Not Cool

Four ProQuest Resources on Jobs for Youth and Minimum Wage

Good news!

Summer job prospects for young people in the U.S. are looking rosier this year than in previous years and many are paying higher than the federal minimum wage.

During and after the Great Recession (2007-2009) and the years immediately following, jobs were scarce, especially for teens. But this summer, entry level positions are freeing up and youth unemployment, while still higher than the overall unemployment rate, is lower than it has been in years. And, according to a national survey conducted between February 11 and March 6, 2015 on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll, 53% of employers offering summer jobs are offering positions paying $15 or more per hour on average.

Delve into the following four ProQuest products to learn more about jobs for teens and young adults as well as the issue of minimum wage, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, disproportionately affects the young (50.4% are ages 16 to 24).

1. eLibrary 

eLibrary offers two editorially-created Research Topic pages on Summer Jobs and Teenagers and Minimum Wage. These pages include links to handpicked articles, websites, primary source documents, videos, and images. You can find these pages via keyword search or by clicking on the following link on the search page:

research topic link

Summer Jobs and Teenagers

Screenshot of eLibrary Research Topic, Summer Jobs, and Teenagers

2. ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher 

ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher contains a Minimum Wage leading issue. Inside this issue, you can find an overview, key definitions, an interactive map on minimum wage laws in the United States, articles on multiple perspectives, and much more. The Minimum Wage essential question, with supporting pro-con questions, asks the following question:

minimum wage essential question

Screenshot of SIRS Issues Researcher Essential Question for the Minimum Wage Leading Issue

3. CultureGrams

CultureGrams provides a trove of reliable, up-to-date cultural content, including an infographic of an average person for each country. Faces of the World Interviews offer an intimate glimpse into the life of an ordinary person–an adult, teen or child–within a particular country. Take a look at some of the youth interviews to glean information and discover what is involved in a typical day, including education and/or any type of job they hold.

Here is an excerpt from a CultureGrams interview with 16-year-old Ali of Mopti, Mali, when he was asked to describe a typical day of the week for him:


Screencap from CultureGrams Faces of the World Interview with Ali, age 16, Mopti, Mali

The first thing I do is feed the goats in the garden. After this, I wash myself and go to the shore of the river to see if one of the fishermen needs help in their pinasse. The pinasse is the motor boat that the fishermen use in the river to go fishing or sometimes to go to other villages and bring people or food to Mopti. There are many of those in Mopti. Sometimes there is no work, so I have to go back home and stay there, but if I find work, then I go with the fisherman and help him load the pinasse and drive it in the river. Then at the end of the day, they pay me some money. Sometimes it is not much, because it depends if they have to transport people or not. If they get a lot of fish, then they give me some of it, and I take it back home to my mother.

4. Historical Newspapers (Graphical) 

Historical Newspapers (Graphical) contains full-text historical newspaper articles covering the enactment of minimum wage laws in the United States. From either the Topics or Timeline tabs, you can click on The Great Depression and locate the Great Depression & Labor Subtopic to learn about the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established minimum wages and also set child labor guidelines.

Additionally, Historical Newspapers is an excellent resource for learning about what types of jobs teens and young adults held in decades past to compare with the typical jobs of today. A keyword search narrowed to the decades of the 1920s and 1930s and using the words “summer jobs” and “girls” and results in all sorts of interesting articles that provide a window into the past about the types of summer work done by girls or young women. Some jobs mentioned are typical — such as camp counselor or waitress — but others, such as the ones mentioned below are of a more unusual nature.

Capturing Baby Elk

Screencap of a ProQuest Historical Newspaper article from the June 24, 1928, edition of the Daily Boston Globe

1921 Historical Newspaper Article

Screencap of a ProQuest Historical Newspaper article from the June 4, 1921, edition of The Baltimore Sun

We are constantly adding new material to our products.

If you have suggestions for new topics for consideration for our products, feel free to let us know in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.

Teen Driving Awareness Month

Safety while driving may not be a fun topic to discuss with beginning drivers, but it’s certainly an important one. Each year in the United States, close to 100,000 teenagers get their driver’s licenses. More sobering statistics: Almost 300,000 teenagers are treated for car-accident injuries each year, and about 2,500 die. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the nation.

Those are pretty significant reasons for talking about driving safety with teenagers.

"Student Driver Enters Work Zone" by Transportation Department (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

“Student Driver Enters Work Zone” by Transportation Department (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher [Public Domain]

Teen driving is such a worthy topic of discussion that a whole month has been devoted to it–January is Teen Driving Awareness Month. Take advantage of the information and resources provided by safety organizations, insurance companies, and government documents.

This may surprise you, but SKS is also a great resource for Teen Driving Awareness Month. Teens and Driving is a Leading Issue on the product, which means that this topic is explored in detail–starting with an overview of the facts and a look at the question “Should the minimum driving age be raised?” In addition, SKS provides up-to-date articles that discuss driving distractions, automobile safety, driving statistics, and safety organizations. Images, including editorial cartoons, photographs and graphs, supplement the textual information.

This month, SKS goes even further in highlighting Teen Driving Awareness Month with its Spotlight of the Month. Direct your students here first to find editor-selected articles and photos, and even a staff-written quiz. Broach the topic of teen driving with your students…and help keep them safe.

Hurray for Terrific Teen Literature!

Today is Celebrate Teen Literature Day! And in today’s literary marketplace there’s much cause for celebration. Young adult (YA) literature is thriving! If the New York Times best-seller list is any indication, teens don’t need to be persuaded that reading can be fun. They already know it. And, according to recent studies, they’re not the only ones devouring  YA books. Many adults are hip to the not-so-guilty pleasures of great YA fiction.

Despite the recent crop of Hollywood adaptations of YA novels, including the Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games and Divergent, YA fiction extends beyond vampire romances and dystopian fantasies, covering a broad range of themes and genres. From coming-of-age classics like S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders to John Green’s contemporary tear-jerker The Fault in Our Stars, there are stories to suit all tastes.


In honor of Celebrate Teen literature Day, librarians across the country are hosting events in their libraries or through their websites. What’s more, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is hosting Teens’ Top Ten, its annual “teens choice” list, where teenagers nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Winners will be announced after Teen Read Week in October. YALSA is also giving away 40 sets of the 2014 Teens’ Top Ten nominated titles to libraries in need.

Join ProQuest SIRS in celebrating the wealth of high-quality literature written for teens today! Visit SIRS Renaissance for articles on the latest and best YA literature on the market.