Our Loved Ones Make Us Happy, Say Welsh Teens; BUT THEY ALSO ENJOY MONEY, FAST FOOD AND ALCOHOL
Byline: CLAIRE MILLER
WELSH teenagers have said their loved ones are what matter most to their happiness - but they still confess to enjoying alcohol, fast food and spending their Education Maintenance Allowance on socialising.
Young people, aged 16 to 19, from across South Wales took part in research to find out what mattered to them, with 129 from schools and colleges taking part in a range of activities to give an insight into their lives.
Friends, family and socialising were the most important things that contributed to the well-being of the teenagers surveyed.
Researcher Julie Newton, from the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS), said: "When they were talking about it, they were talking in terms of family and friends being their foundation.
"They're irreplaceable. They give you confidence. Without them you wouldn't be who you are today."
She said the key for teenagers was ideas around who you socialise with, as well as how and where you socialise, with many of the other things young people rated as important tying back to the topic.
Money as a route to independence was widely discussed, with the report saying many of the pupils talked about the importance of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) as a key source of income, alongside part-time jobs, to allow them to socialise with friends.
Dr Newton said: "EMA was very important to giving the independence of not having to rely on parents to buy what they want. There was an idea of money as a route to independence, through education and a job you have a route to money.
"Education is seen as very important, a pathway to a secure and stable lifestyle through jobs.
"This brought concerns about whether education was going to lead to a job, particularly with the rising cost of university.
There was rising anxiety and concern about the lack of jobs in some areas. The stress of exams struck a chord."
As well as highlighting the things they love, the study also showed what concerns young people, such as worries about their future, pressure to look a certain way and social networking. …