MODERN AMERICAN SOCIETY has greatly expanded effective freedom in many areas of the lives of young adults. Young people play a much stronger role in deciding what they do after high school and, in particular, which college or university they attend or what type of job they seek out if they choose not to go to college. Finding a job after college is rarely easy, but they choose the areas in which they seek a job or additional training or education. From high school on, their favorite music is delivered right to their ears, and they can see an enormous variety of movies, videos, and other images in theaters, on their computer, handheld devices, or with their friends in other venues. Opportunities for regional and international travel have increased immensely, and with increased travel young people develop a greater sensitivity to cultural differences. Even in print media, students have better textbooks than ever before, a greater variety of resources available via the Web, and areas friendly to young inquiring minds.
In a developed society, freedom, though definitely good for adults, brings mixed blessings for young people on their way to or in the initial stage of adulthood. Freedom with few public bounds, which is the prevailing context in Western society, means corporations, groups, and individuals are permitted to produce and disseminate materials and images, many of which are not deemed wholesome for young people. Given this reality, freedom also means young people are exposed to unhelpful practices and images at much younger ages; sadly, such images and approaches rival the roles and influence parents and family members have traditionally had.