Vaping, depression and declining physical activity are among the issues affecting our kids in the 2018-2019 school year, according to the annual Youth Survey. Fortunately, the survey also identifies ways that you can actively help teens succeed and avoid/reduce risk behaviors.
Since 2001, the Board of Supervisors and the School Board have co-sponsored the Youth Survey, which helps to monitor behavior trends and changes among our youth and provides crucial information to help prioritize the focus for prevention efforts throughout the community. It is an anonymous and voluntary survey given each year to students in grades 8, 10 and 12 (sixth graders take a modified, shorter survey). In 2018-2019, 47,539 students participated – representing 84% of enrolled students.
The news is mostly positive from the survey – several risk behaviors remain at low levels. However, there are still areas of concern.
The Three to Succeed analysis in the Youth Survey shows that teens having at least three of these six positive factors and support from their community can help them succeed and flourish.
- Having high personal integrity.
- Performing community service.
- Having teachers recognize good work.
- Having community adults to talk to.
- Participating in extracurricular activities.
- Having parents available for help.
Five top takeaways from the 2018-2019 Youth Survey
One in five students (19.8%) reported vaping within a 30-day period, up from 9.7% in last year’s survey. Overall regular cigarette smoking was 1.8%. One-quarter of 12th graders vaped nicotine, one-seventh marijuana and approximately one-eighth flavoring only.
Overall depressive symptoms (28.3%) for eighth, 10th and 12th grade students increased since last year (27.3%), which is higher than the lowest rate in 2016. Sixth graders reported the prevalence of depressive symptoms (24.2%), the highest rate since 2011.
The percentage of students (38.4%) getting at least one hour of physical activity per day on five or more days is the lowest since 2010, when 42.6% did so. Overall 63.9% of eighth, 10th and 12th grade students get more than three hours of screen time per day (49% for 6th graders).
There is a small upward trend in 30-day marijuana use. Almost one in 10 students (9.7%) in eighth, 10th and 12th grades reported using marijuana in the past 30 days, compared to 9.5% last year.
Reported rates of being a victim of cyberbullying (8.2%), as well as being an aggressor (3.9%), continued to decrease in 2018-2019.