While Australia is culturally diverse the youth culture of the country is a separate culture from the mainstream. The young people of Australia face times that are distinctly different to the times their parents and grandparents grew up in, which has in turn has created a unique culture. Unemployment influences the youth of any country, either directly through young people being unable to get jobs, or through their parents being unable to find suitable employment, which can cause financial hardship. Though Australia faces lower youth unemployment rates than many other countries it is still significant enough to influence the youth of today.
Employment opportunities can have an effect on the literacy level of young people, as when jobs are hard to come by, and those that are available are highly sought after with stiff competition, it often causes those who are already struggling academically to adopt a ‘no point in learning because there are no jobs’ viewpoint. Dropout rates increase and more youth are seeking things to do to occupy their time, often leading to an increase in petty crime, drug use, and alcohol abuse. Young people struggling to find employment or not interested in higher education often find themselves still living at home well into their twenties and in some cases thirties. As parents’ incomes diminish due to retirement and less jobs available for the aging sector of the job force further strain is put on the household finances. There is a feeling of entitlement that is often evidenced in today’s youth culture, in stark contrast to the way their parents were raised to believe that as soon as they finished their education it was time to move out of home. The youth of today have far less attachment to their historical culture, and where once children cherished things their parents owned and passed down to them, young people today have very little sentiment attachment for objects from the past. On the flipside of this is a growing interest in what is termed ‘retro’ items from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, which is one of the major trends nowadays. Vintage items are highly sought after by a select part of the young population and a strong interest in early technology such as record players, original computers, and the like is a trend. Clothing from those eras is also being sought after, although items are often mixed and matched with items that are currently trendy. Minimalism, and a rejection of a materialistic lifestyle, is slowly but steadily becoming a trend that many of today’s youth are adopting. This ties in somewhat to the lack of sentimentality over things their parents want to pass on to their offspring. Minimalism has no set boundaries and is different for each person. For one it may mean having very little clothing, furniture and household items, whereas for another it may mean rejecting the need for credit card use.
Social media plays a large part in Australian youth culture, as it does in many other parts of the world. The ability to ‘chat’ via the likes of Facebook, keep in contact with people who no longer live close, and being able to access social media sites at any time, from anywhere on a smart phone has become the norm. For some young people having face to face conversations is the rarity and not the normal way to interact with friends and family members not living in the same house. Many of today’s youth are turning their back on politics, refusing to vote for many reasons, the primary one being that they feel their vote is not effective in making real change that will benefit them. There is an underlying apathy apparent in some youth regarding their future prospects, leading to a rejection of authority and a rebellion that has not been seen before.