Teens More Likely to Have Complications from Giving Blood

Teens who donate blood have three times the complications of adult donors. However, most of these complications are not serious, such as lightheadedness, sweating, and bruises from needles.

Researchers analyzed 1.7 million donations from the year 2006, according to Dr. Anne Eder, lead author of this study and a medical officer with the Red Cross.

People ages 16 to 19 represent 15% of blood donations. Their complication rate is 11% compared to less than 3% for donors over age 20. Teens also experienced more serious and rarer complications such as concussions, mostly as a consequence of falling and fainting.

Dr. Eder said that some teens’ low weight and small statures might play a role in their increased rates of complications. This study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Babies of Teenage Fathers Have Higher Risk of Death

The babies of teenage fathers are at an increased risk of death compared to babies whose dads are over 40, according to a new study from the University of Ottawa Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine.

Dr. Shi Wu Wen, using data form the National Center for Health Statistics, examined birth records of 2,614,966 children born in the United States between 1995 and 2000. All mothers in the study were between 20 and 29 years old, but fathers were teenagers.

The babies with young fathers had a 22 percent increased risk of dying within the first month, and a 41 percent increased risk of dying in the first year. The babies tended to be smaller, with a 15 percent increased risk of premature birth.

“The public has paid attention to teenage mothers and teenage pregnancy,” Dr. Wen said. “Here we show that teenage fathers are also at high risk.”

This study appears in the journal Human Reproduction.

38% of Teens Believe It’s Okay to Cheat in Order to Get Ahead

Almost 40% of teens in a Junior Achievement annual survey said they thought it was okay to cheat, plagiarize, lie or even behave violently in order to succeed. About a fourth said that cheating on a test is justified by a personal desire to succeed, and that violence can be acceptable when settling an argument or seeking revenge.

“The high percentages of teenagers who freely admit that unethical behavior can be justified is alarming,” said Dr. David Miller, director of the Yale Center for Faith. “This way of thinking will inevitably lead to unethical if not illegal actions that will damage individual lives and ruin corporate reputations.”

A majority of teens in the survey (57%) also believe that whatever they post on the Internet should not be used against them when they seek employment.

Junior Achievement, an organization that promotes business careers among young people, surveyed over 700 American teens.

Largest Study of Teens and Religion Finds Most Teens Are Indifferent

The most extensive study of teens and religion found that teens think it’s important to be somewhat religious, but not too religious.

Dr. Christian Smith of Notre Dame University began his study in 2000 with phone surveys of 3,370 parents and their teenagers. A second wave of research was completed in 2005, and a third wave is ongoing.

Dr. Smith found that most teens do not understand the basic tenets of their faiths. About one-third are involved regularly in religion; one-third are involved sporadically; and one-third are never involved.

“Religious faith and practice does not mean much to most teens or connect with much of their lives,” Dr. Smith reported. Comparing religion to wallpaper, he suggested religion operates only in the background of teens’ lives.

Most teens believe that God exists and created the world, but is not involved in your life unless you have a problem. Teens also believe that the central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about yourself.

Teens Using More Swear Words Than Ever

A leading expert on swearing says that today’s teenagers are using bad language to an unprecedented degree.

Timothy Jay, author of Why We Curse and Cursing in America, says teens learn bad language by hearing their parents use it. “It starts when they learn to talk,” Jay said. “At a young age, they’re attentive to emotions. When you’re swearing to be funny or when you’re angry – that just draws them right to it.”

Jay, a psychology professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, believes that teens are increasingly using swear words at school and among themselves, often as “filler words” when they cannot think of something to say. The average teen now uses between 80 and 90 swear words a day. The problem is that swearing has become so common that teens are unaware when their language offends others.

“Our language values are shifting,” Jay said, “and it’s just different, not better or worse.”

Teen boys tell researchers they want love and romance, not just sex

Teenage boys are more romantic than most people give them credit for, according to a new study from the State University of New York.

Psychology professors surveyed 105 tenth-grade boys, average age 16. Among the ones who were sexually active, just as many said they were in love with their partners as those who said their object was to find out what sex feels like or to satisfy their own desires. More than 80 percent of the boys said they pursued a relationship with a certain girl because they simply liked her a lot.

This new study, published in the Journal of Adolescence, backs up a larger study of 1,500 college male and female students who told researchers they were having sex because “I really like this person.”

Teens Optimistic that They Can Solve Problems like Global Warming

A majority of teens believe that science and technology can solve environmental problems, and that they would be the ones to invent some of these solutions themselves.

The Lemelson-MIT Invention Index gauges American attitudes toward invention and innovation. This year 72% of American teens told researchers that new inventions could solve even the worst environment problems such as global warming and water pollution. Two-thirds believe that they could be the inventors of these solutions. That percent was lower among girls (67%) and African American teens (64%).

Another majority (70%) told researchers that hands-on and project-based science and math courses in high school are very valuable.

“Today’s teens are inheriting our society’s environmental challenges, so their confidence and optimism that problems are solvable is promising and exciting,” said Josh Schuler, director of the Lemelson-MIT program, a non-profit organization at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.