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They are also the first generation to grow up in a world in which there has always been AIDS and, at least in some parts of the developing world, the first generation with nearly universal knowledge of and access to some form of contraception.This is the first generation to be covered during their childhood by the broad protections internationally recognized in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (adopted in 1991) and supported, in many diverse local contexts, by the work of many international agencies as well as international, national, and local nongovernmental organizations.Concerns about how global forces are altering the passage into adulthood are all the more urgent because of the changing demographic profile of many developing countries.
Adolescents and young adults whose lives are affected by these changes can be beneficiaries when they are prepared for them but can also bear their scars if they are not.
Those who do not feel the immediate impact of these changes will nonetheless be affected indirectly as the overall pace and pervasiveness of change continue to accelerate.
The development of a global youth culture is facilitated by the growing accessibility of international media and the Internet but at the same time fully effective connectivity requires adequate income to afford access, language competency, and computer literacy—skills that are hard for many young people to acquire without more and better schooling opportunities.
Later ages of marriage and childbearing increase opportunities for further schooling, but they also increase the time during which adolescents are exposed to premarital pregnancy and childbearing.
But differential rates of change have led, in some cases, to growing differences among adolescents within and across countries, as some young people experience progress and others are left behind.
Although poverty rates have been declining for developing countries as a whole, significant fractions of young people still live in poverty.Across the developing world, the life experience of many young people today is profoundly different from the experience of their parents or even of young people growing up a decade ago.While change in and of itself is not new, the rapidity and scale of recent change has profound implications for both the opportunities and the risks faced by the current generation of young people and for relationships between the generations.Young people in less developed regions are confronting opportunities and challenges unique to this historical time.Young people today, especially in urban areas, are the first generation to grow up with widespread access to a radio and increasingly also to television and with the growing potential for Internet connectivity at an early age.However, that promise cannot be realized without certain legal rights and protections and supportive institutions, including good schools, a sufficient number of remunerative and satisfying jobs, the opportunity for community participation and political voice, the absence of discrimination, good nutrition and health, access to health services, and, for women, a choice about freedom from premature marriage and childbearing.Barriers to mobility have lessened due to reduced costs of transportation and increasingly available means of transportation at the same time that greater access to information conveys news of a wider range of geographic opportunities for schooling, jobs, and marriage partners.Critics of globalization argue that it has been associated with growing income inequality and social polarization, as some local participants in global change improve their economic situation while the livelihoods of others remain largely unchanged or decline (see, for example, Milanovic, 2003; United Nations, 2004; Wade, 2004).Over time the situation of those left behind may actually deteriorate, as their skills and assets become less The Millennium Development Goals are a set of time-bound and measurable goals and targets designed to address the world’s most compelling human development problems.Furthermore, the fertility transition, which is in process in most of the developing world, means that many young people are growing up with fewer siblings and in smaller households.Rapid urbanization also means that a higher percentage of young people are growing up in cities or moving to cities during their formative years.