What Is the Most Important Issue Facing Youth Today, and Why?

Cogito is for young thinkers around the world. The Cogito Big Question series is designed find out just what young thinkers think. Chosen by Cogito members, the first Big Question is: 

What is the most important issue facing youth today, and why?

Answers are open to all users. Don’t be shy! Submit your answer by sending a message to cogitocty@jhu.edu, and your response will be posted below. Please include your first name and country.


“The environment, without a doubt.” The people in power now borrowed the earth from their children – and now that’s us. Young people today will decide the world we live in tomorrow, and that means sustainable energy, ecologically friendly lifestyles, and living peacefully with our little blue planet! — Emer, Carlow, Ireland

“I think time management is a huge issue for today’s youth.” Between school and work and studying and spending time with family and friends, most people have packed schedules. They’re expected to perform to the best of their abilities, and put effort into all that they do, but the truth is many teens today do a lot. If we can learn to prioritize and learn good time management skills, it’ll only help us in the future. Yes, it will be a challenge, but it’s a lifelong skill as well. — Amisha, Trumbull, CT, USA

“I agree that the most important issue facing today’s youth is the environment, especially the problem of global warming.” While species extinction, overfishing, acid rain, urban sprawl, expanding landfills, and the hole in the ozone layer are serious problems, global warming is the most immediate. It is our generation that will have to either halt and reverse greenhouse gas emissions or face the inundation of our coastal cities as the world’s ocean levels rise with melted ice from the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves. — Edward, Livonia, MI, USA

“Without a doubt, it is time management.” Many students have the burden of honors or advanced placement classes piling homework on their shoulders. Memberships in clubs, societies, sports, music groups, and other extracurricular activities take up time, not to mention the Friday night parties and, if you pardon my language, “Family Fun Nights.” Indeed, even good time management cannot save you in a situation where you are a top student with academic and social obligations. In the end, students have a lack of zzzzzz’s, leading up to a common situation.
“Welcome to Starbucks!”
“Just give me some coffee, please.”
Arpan, West Virginia, United States

“I think that when we talk about the youth the answer should be more general than specific.” Environment is certainly a problem that we face today but only a minor population does think about it. The real challenges that a youth faces is certainly how will he/she will able to survive in this world, getting a good job, earning money and reputation. This I speak considering the fact that it is a natural human tendency to first secure his future and think about himself before looking at a broader perspective like environment. — Aman, New Delhi, India

“I believe the most important issue that young people today face is that we live in a drug-ruled world.” Now I’m not talking all about illegal drugs or even legal drugs that are being abused (although that is a large part of the problem). What I am talking about is ever since we were young if we got sick we went to the doctor and they gave us a drug. Every time we sneezed outdoors we got allergy drugs. There are drugs for almost anything that you could possibly need (or want). So now as our young people age and begin to make their own decisions about life they find it so easy just to get the drug for whatever they need. Whether it be sickness or wanting to perform their best in athletics, drugs just seem to be the answer. I’m not implying that everyone of us is going to become a drug addict, but what I am saying is that the temptation is there for us, we have the mind set, and all we need is one moment of stupid to drastically change our lives forever. — Monica, West Des Moines, Iowa, USA

“I think the most important issue facing youth is the mentality that being young is the reason one is unable to make a difference within one’s community or even the world.”In order to remedy this issue, I think it is important that youth see examples of other kids doing just this. We as youth have so much ability, potential, and influence (a lot of us just don’t know it!). — Sammy R. Palo Alto, California, USA

14 Responses to What Is the Most Important Issue Facing Youth Today, and Why?

  1. LannieFisher480@gmail.com' Lannie says:

    I agree with the issue of drug abuse among youth nowadays. Drugs can be bought almost everywhere whether they are legal prescription drugs that are being abused or the illegal drugs and are sometimes being legalized like marijuana. So higher the chances of addiction among our youth. You may even see some on the streets puffing, what would happen to these children if they aren’t given proper support. I hope legal actions would address this kind of issue.

  2. EugeneBradley0875@gmail.com' Eugene says:

    @ Lannie

    Hi, I also have the same opinion with the idea of drug issues among our youth today. Luckily there are programs that are being conducted that focuses on such things, that would require proper actions I’ve ready an article on another page about summer programs for drug abuse https://cogito.cty.jhu.edu/16245/nida-summer-research-program/. I strongly strongly agree with the idea of the government to increase the awareness of the youth for drug use and drug abuse recovery this would increase the chances of lessening the quantity of people who are being consumed by illicit substances.

  3. christalthomson@att.net' Karris says:

    I think that peer pressure is by far one of, if not the worst problem our youth faces. Even you and I are being pressed on how to be considered ‘cool’ by our friends by doing things that may not be right. This could be from as simple as passing a note for a friend to being pressured into a gang! Peer pressure and popularity can really bring out the worst of people, too. For example, in many schools (and you may have seen this), there might be one boy or girl that everyone makes fun of ; instead of standing up to that wrong and telling others how wrong they are, you laugh at him or her just like everyone else. Why is this a problem? Well, many times kids who go through peer pressure may suffer depression or become submissive and always obedient because they can’t speak up and say no. This problem ,in fact, has a lot to do with what I’ve read others say such as drug use, time management, and the feeling of powerlessness.

  4. manjuvenkat99@yadlapalli.com' VINEETHA says:

    I think that the environment is a huge issue for our youth. We are the next generation to step up to the plate and control our world. All the issues we’re having will be passed down to us, and we will have to deal with pollution, global warming, deforestation, endangered species, and so much more. We need to get informed and know what is coming ahead of us. Instead of wondering about social media, or going to the party next Friday, or dreaming about a crush, we must get more focused on our studies and future, because the world will hit us hard when we step up to the plate, which includes dealing with the environmental issues out there.

  5. snidget.revelio@gmail.com' Meena says:

    I believe that the biggest problem is that we believe that being young automatically means that we can’t do anything important. This feeling, that we are nameless and will remain nameless until we are older and can finally do “the big things”, lends us a certain anonymity which justifies practically our every action, or lack thereof. Thinking about the future is a certain nostalgia, as John Green says in his Looking for Alaska that we shouldn’t allow ourselves until we let that “when I grow up” become our present. It’s not just about seeing other kids doing this (in fact, sometimes it makes it look even more unattainable when you see the commotion around your peers who’ve managed to make their time so far worthwhile), but taking that first step and asking your teachers for permission to use the science lab, collaborating with your fellow peers to organize a rally for promoting environmental awareness (which seems to be another big problem), etc. It seems silly to think about these things as though they are impossible at this age and suddenly possible at another, as though you won’t let it always be a goal for the future instead of a goal for now– almost as silly as it is hypocritical for me to be saying this.

  6. supriyagor@yahoo.com' Arya says:

    The most important issue for today’s youth would definitely be time management. Kids today have all sorts of extracurricular activities, and a lot of homework, especially as they grow higher into middle school and high school. As long as they try their best in whatever they want to achieve, the task will be accomplished. With time management, kids can catch up on sleep, and maybe have time to do other things that they want to do.

  7. amosleki@gmail.com' Amos says:

    The real problems facing the youth here in South Sudan differs compare to other youth in other world , here in south Sudan youth are us used as tool for killing the innocent civilian

  8. Vibhadragon@gmail.com' Vibha says:

    Environment is the most memorable gift given by God so we have to take care and protect our environment if allover the world ? people start saving the environment then we can save our world

  9. stephenoyake@gmail.com' Stephen says:

    social media where most youths spend much time with there phones,get access to sites that not good and good for the consumption and even changes the mode of doing things,like lifestyle,dressing mode etc.

  10. nandyaladharanireddy@gmail.com' dharani says:

    It’s really amazing

  11. nandyaladharanireddy@gmail.com' dharani says:

    I obey this even when youth starts to study they distract their mind may be this is the reason why they addicted to bad things

  12. gillian@yahoo.com' GILLIAN says:


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