Ephebiphobia is a fucking shame. It's collective, wilful ignorance of what's actually happening, of the facts. And it comes from the same scaremongers who tell us we're in the middle of a crime wave, that we need to "get tough on crime", and that today's youth ("the me generation", "the iGeneration", "generation Y") are lazy miscreants who want it all.
(Almost certainly wrongfully) attributed to Peter the Hermit, 13th century:
The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.
John Key, 2008:
This wasted potential is there for us all to see: teenage parents with no plans for their or their children’s future; illiterate and innumerate school leavers; youth gangs prowling our neighbourhoods and sporadically dishing out beatings. [...] More than 13,000 teenagers are collecting a welfare cheque and many others are filling their days with nothing but Playstation and TV soaps. Violent youth crime is at an all-time high. Robbery is up. Grievous assaults are up. Aggravated robbery is up. Young criminals are graduating from petty crime to more serious crime; unexploded time-bombs on a fast-track to Paremoremo.
Sounds serious, doesn't it. But here's a look at the supposed crime-wave, using Statistics New Zealand data:
Obviously, Kiwi teenagers are too busy filling their days with Playstation and TV soaps to get out onto the streets and raise the youth crime rates.