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Teen Trend Report

National Poll and Writing Contest:  5,500+ teen visitors, 270 survey responders, 125+ teen essays about civility, etiquette, and manners in today's world.

Where Has Civility Gone?

Teen Writing ContestAre people more rude today?  Are manners dead? 

We posed the simple question, "Do you think people are becoming less civil?" to over 5,000 teens from around the US and globe.  Here's what we discovered...

Background:  "Civility" is defined as the practice of good manners in both speech and behavior.  We wanted to know if teens thought that the practice of good manners and using proper etiquette are remnants of past generations...or do we still have what it takes to be civil to each other and show each other respect?
  • Has technology destroyed our already tenuous relationship with civility?
  • Where did you learn your manners?
  • How often do you think others witness you displaying bad manners?
  • Do you believe that our society as a whole has good or bad manners?
  • What is your pet peeve when it comes to manners or etiquette?
  • Do common courtesies exist anymore?
  • Is chivalry dead?
  • Is there an etiquette code for Social Media?
  • Are people more or less civil in today’s society than 10 years ago? What about 50 years ago?
  • Is proper etiquette important?  Why?
  • What are the little things we can do to show more respect and civility to each other?
These questions were used in conjunction with our national monthly writing contest to spur some thoughts, ideas and memories for the writing prompt.   The feedback and essays we received from high school and college students was very interesting.


Trend Report Overview:
  • Respect and CivilityVISITS:  Over 5,500 teens and college students visited the StageofLife.com writing contest during the month's writing prompt (December 2013) from across the US (all 50 states) and dozens of international countries.

  • TEENS and SURVEY DATA:  270 students between junior high school and college fully completed the national survey about civility and etiquette. 
  • ESSAY THEMES:  Out of all of the topics discussed, several major themes were collectively revealed by teens and their feelings about etiquette in today's world. 
  • StageofLife.com writing contest summary details

    STUDENT ESSAYS:
     
    125+ teen bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the "Where has civility gone?" writing prompt - sharing personal stories about etiquette, manners, kindness towards one another, and civility. 
  • ESSAY WINNER:  Place winners, along with Runners Up and finalists were selected. 

PART ICivility Teen Etiquette Trends

Before submitting their StageofLife.com writing contest essay, teens were asked to complete the national survey containing some etiquette questions.  Here are the teen statistics from the StageofLife.com survey from the students who fully completed the poll...
  • Etiquette Statistics91% of teens say that civility, manners and etiquette are either "very important" or "important" in their lives.
  • Classmates at School: When asked where and from whom do you see the MOST FREQUENT uncivil behavior (rudeness, bad manners, etc.), 47% of high school and college students said "Classmates at School."  Compare this to "Family at Home" (6%), "Strangers in Public Places" (27%), or "Friends and Followers on Social Media" (20%)
  • 70% of teenagers feel society, as a whole, displays more bad manners than good manners.
  • 62% of teens, however, do not feel that chivalry is dead, i.e. do you see people opening doors for others? Do you see the strong protecting the weak? Etc.
  • 87% of teenagers claim they personally practice civility, good manners and polished etiquette either "all" or "most" of the time.
  • 92% of teens say they feel social media, e.g. Facebook and Twitter, is making us a less civil society
  • 97% of students learn their manners from home.  57% also said they learn manners and civility from their place of worship.  43% named school as a positive influence on their manners, in particular through their involvement in Extracurricular Activities, e.g. Music, Sports, Student Government, Theater, etc.
  • Family Upbringing:  Students ranked "Family Upbringing" as the #1 factor for its impact on civility, with "Education Level" coming in as the second most important factor followed by "Socioeconomic Status"
  • Bad Manners:  When asked where they learn "bad manners", the top three ranked answers (they could select multiple choices) were:
  1. Media, books, and movies:  69.3%
  2. School - classes:  65%
  3. Friends:  61.5%
  • What bugs teens:  Being mean to service peopleBeing rude to service people: Teens rank being rude to cashiers, waiters, or other service people as their biggest pet peeve when seeing bad manners from people in public. Here's how teens ranked other options (they were asked to pick ONE of these as their biggest pet peeve)...
  1. Loud cell phone conversations:  3.3%
  2. Being rude to cashiers, waiters, or other service people:  38.9%
  3. Displaying bad table manners:  1.9%
  4. Using foul language:  18.9%
  5. Talking during a movie:  8.5%
  6. Not using common courtesies like saying please, thank-you or excuse me: 25.6%
  7. Loud gum chewing:  3%
  • Teen Trend survey results: CivilityIf you could ask everyone in the world to work on changing one behavior that would help us all be more civil to each other, what would that behavior be?  Want to see how all of students answered this open-ended survey question?  To get the full survey results from the StageofLife.com teen poll and to read additional answers collected during the teen trend report survey, download the full PDF report here...
To read the full survey results, click the PDF icon to view or save the free download.

SOURCE:  All statistics above were collected by StageofLife.com as part of its monthly teen trend reports containing statistics and writing contest prompt responses from teens on real world issues.

PART II:  CIVILITY ESSAY THEMES

After taking the survey, students submitted their writing contest essays to StageofLife.com.  From the 160+ qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes emerged:

Themes and Trends from the Essays:  "Is Civility Dead?"

  • Writing contest themesTechnology: The majority of teens agreed that technology, including smart phones, social media, and other forms of media, have effectively ruined or disrupted civility. Because of technology, teens are rude, brash, and hidden behind the mask of online anonymity, which emboldens them to say whatever they want without regard to the other person’s feelings. Cyber bullying was also a big concern for these teens.
  • Parents/Peers: Many teens remarked that it is up to parents to instill manners into their children, but often times, teens learn good (and bad) habits from their friends and peers. Teens are often desperate to fit in, and as a result, are willing to do and say anything to seem cool.
  • Civility Was Gone A Long Time Ago: Some teens weren’t as optimistic for civility, and argued that manners had disappeared a long time ago. These teens felt that people only use civility to get ahead, and are faking kindness.
  • Civility Still Exists: Despite this, a large portion of teens felt that civility was still alive and well in today’s society. Even though technology may have made some people a little aloof, overall, people will still go out of their way to be kind to others, because it is the right thing to do.

PART III:  READ THE "Civility" ESSAYS

Teen Bloggers on StageofLife.comImmediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists, and all qualifying essays from college students and teenagers about civility, etiquette and manners.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two, especially our winners, runners-up, and finalists.

If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).


Writing contest winnerWriting Contest Winner and Place Finishers

    First Place: 
    Civility: Not the Same as Respect by euiyoung.kim.509 (This teen wears civility like armor)


    Place Finishers

    StageofLife.com student essay writersSecond Place: 
    Civility: Crisis of the Chivalry Code by aisyahlyana (We can be the heroes: the chivalrous knights)

    Third Place: 
    Civility: Finding Civility Through Respect by dude1million (Civility is based on respect)

    Fourth Place: 
    Civility: The Contradictory Life of an Asian-American by KplusOHminus (Americans and Asians, notably Korean and Japanese people, have very different views on respect)



    Runners Up (in no particular order)

    1. Writing Contest Runners UpCivility: Gone with the cell phone bill by carrotdude (We are plagued by phones)
    2. Civility: Dying Yet Surviving by Rachel Nipp (This teen witnesses plenty of rudeness at her job)
    3. Civility: A Strange New World by nagpalme (The appreciation for words has vanished)
    4. Civility: The Morning Traffic Jam by neverlandmagic (This teen hates the traffic caused by technology)
    5. Civility: It Begins With You by ZoeMelnyk (Kindness is a good place to start)
    6. Civility: Finding Civility Through Respect by dude1million (Civility is based on respect)
    7. Civility: A Viral Outbreak by Meghana.B (Civility should be spread like a disease)
    8. Civility: Crisis of the Chivalry Code by aisyahlyana (We can be the heroes: the chivalrous knights)
    9. Civility: Going Nowhere by julia1997 (Generations have continually worried about civility disappearing)
    10. Civility: The Contradictory Life of an Asian-American by KplusOHminus (Americans and Asians, notably Korean and Japanese people, have very different views on respect)
    11. Civility: Not the Same as Respect by euiyoung.kim.509 (This teen wears civility like armor) 
    12. Civility: Chivalry Lives in the Shadows by Isabelk (People look for grand gestures, when chivalry could be something smaller)



    Read teen essays from StageofLife.com national writing contest

    StageofLIfe.com writing contest submissions

    Read All Qualifying Teen & College Essays for the StageofLife.com Writing Contest
    - "Where Has Civility Gone?"

    The essays below were all written by Stage of Life teen writers for this monthly teen writing contest...

    Technology/Media

    1. Civility: Where Is It Now? by bridgekid2 (Technology has taken over)

    2. Civility: Too Comfortable for Civility? by brookehill5 (We need to return to respect and manners)

    3. Civility: The Internet Takeover by azhou (The internet has destroyed the concept of civility)

    4. Civility: I Know Where Civility Went; It Emigrated! by MusicMaker17 (Canadians still have manners)

    5. Civility: Why Modern Day Society Has Caused a Loss of Regard for Others by klammert (Life was better 30 years ago)

    6. Civility: Technological Terror by JulianneMerz (Technology is destroying civility)

    7. Civility: Where has civility gone? by alyssamirand17 (Spend less time on your iPad and more time reading)

    8. Civility: Where has civility gone? by jerybrown (This teen feels like she was raised with manners, but not many people are)

    9. Civility: Dying with more technology by jetinator (Technology has made people rude)

    10. Civility: Deceased Manners/New Technology by chamian (Cyber bullying is destructive to civility)

    11. Civility: Going Once! Going Twice! Gone! by liz985 (There is no app for kindness)

    12. Civility: Civility Ruined by Darren_DiRocco (Technology and drugs are ruining society)

    13. Civility: Technology Killed Conversations by Jessie2297 (Friends only focus on their phones when they hang out)

    14. Civility: Social media has ruined us by daniellemortensen (People were kinder when they didn’t have social media)

    15. Civility: Walking Alone by kyle.tresdos (Civility is lost)

    16. Civility: Which Way to Point by Olivia Alexander (People just want to fit in)

    17. Civility: The Missing Word in the World by andreamrl93 (Technology is eroding away at civility)

    18. Civility: The Incapable Fan by Travis64 (This teen remembers a rude person at an event)

    19. Civility: The Technological Burden by robert.newman (People use the internet to say things they would never say in real life)

    20. Civility: Cell phones are destroying our lives by ExtraCredit (Cell phones have made people lazy)

    21. Civility: Has Technology Changed Us? by Colin Casaccio (Phones can be useful, but it is important to remember personal manners)

    22. Civility: The News and Media by SnookCommander (People are rude when they should be respectful)

    23. Civility: A Forgotten Art by liammcneil (The media focuses on uncivil people)

    24. Civility: Gone with the cell phone bill by carrotdude (We are plagued by phones)

    25. Civility: Where has civility gone? by patienceparry (The internet and media have ruined manners)

    26. Civility: Where has it gone? by Clipper21 (Schools should have a civility class)

    27. Civility: Phones Killing Society by nickwest1999 (Phones lead to pointless fights)

    28. Civility: Lack of civility, love of self by faithzwicker (Will we ever get back to civility?)

    29. Civility: The Red Rose by journeyflower (Civility is hidden under mass media)

    30. Civility: Miley Cyrus by epicdreamer48 (Miley destroyed civility)

    31. Civility: Cell phones impacting teenage manners by sydneyt20 (Teens only focus on their phones, not each other)

    32. Civility: A generation of zombies by alec7468@gmail.com (Teens act like zombies around cell phones)

    33. Civility: Consequences of Technology by nyokimarcella (Children aren’t interested in learning from their elders)

    34. Civility: Click Here to Avoid Others by pnl5062 (Social media means people get to hide behind screen names, instead of having face to face talks)

    35. Civility: Then and Now by devindavis1123 (A world will never be totally civil)

    36. Civility: Dying Yet Surviving by Rachel Nipp (This teen witnesses plenty of rudeness at her job)

    37. Civility: Slipping grasp on respect and manners by jonathan_dorsey (Cell phones consume our lives)

    38. Civility: Phone Age by caseyg222 (People are way too obsessed with their phones)

    39. Civility: How Manners are Corrupted by trevinwisaksana (Technology and abusive parents ruin manners)

    40. Civility: My Generation by ThatOneGirlFromOhio (She can’t wait to leave her town)

    41. Civility: A Strange New World by nagpalme (The appreciation for words has vanished)

    42. Civility: The Morning Traffic Jam by neverlandmagic (This teen hates the traffic caused by technology)

    43. Civility: Media Killed the Mannered Kid by Sparkling (Eye contact is important to relationships)

    44. Civility: At Your Fingertips by jungsoolee97 (Text speak has ruined civility)


    You

    1. Civility: It Begins With You by ZoeMelnyk (Kindness is a good place to start)

    2. Civility: Sorry, Thank you, Sorry again by Sanaya (Kindness can make all the difference)

    3. Civility: The Disappearance by Trenkle20 (Changing society starts with you)

    4. Civility: Little Comments, Big Words by MadHats (Society has gotten more crass)

    5. Civility: A Light at the End of the Tunnel by david.hammond (Great things can be accomplished through civility)

    6. Civility: Gone or Hiding? by emilybertucci (Civility is hiding in the hearts of good people)

    7. Civility: It’s a Big World by jonathang (Once people take a genuine interest in others’ lives, civility will return)

    8. Civility: Reduced to a myth by huda fatima (Remember your manners and act civil)

    9. Civility: Finding Civility Through Respect by dude1million (Civility is based on respect)

    10. Civility: A Viral Outbreak by Meghana.B (Civility should be spread like a disease)

    11. Civility: An Enlightened Time by PeriZundell (This teen earned a better grade by being respectful)

    12. Civility: Crisis of the Chivalry Code by aisyahlyana (We can be the heroes: the chivalrous knights)

    Parents/Peers

    1. Civility: Is It Really Our Fault? by bochi_tries84 (Don’t blame social media—we observe manners from our parents)

    2. Civility: Lurking Under the Bed by c.rabinowicz (Civility, personified, is scared)

    3. Civility: Is Someone at My Window? by Maximilienne (This teen experienced an eavesdropper)

    4. Civility by Tobycyndy (Parents should instill a good, moral upbringing)

    5. Civility: Common Discourtesy in School by jonnyma13 (Teens are subject to cyber and physical bullying on a regular basis)

    6. Civility: Those who are hope by Lanilynn99 (Young men are saving civility)

    7. Civility: Going Nowhere by julia1997 (Generations have continually worried about civility disappearing)

    8. Civility: Manners Matter Most by jessicasong (Manners should be the first thing children learn)

    9. Civility: The Lost Treasure by wjung3139 (Children should respect their parents)

    10. Civility: A Lost Art? by klageraaen (Chivalry isn’t dead, but it is on its way out)

    11. Civility: Where art thou? by ufo627 (People are rude to each other in public)

    12. Civility: Chivalry is dead by Jdepue24 (Both women and men are guilty of being rude)

    13. Civility: Chivalry is dead by tonyp6659 (“Treat others as you want to be treated”)

    14. Civility: Where has civility gone? by tbanze4 (She tells the story of a friend who is at the mercy of his parents’ divorce)

    15. Civility: Some Have It by sammiii_h (People are self-centered and rude)

    16. Civility: Where Does the Good Go? by sasaallchin (Proper etiquette teaches you to be a better person)

    17. Civility: An unheard of principle by sarahraza (Parents no longer teach basic manners)

    18. Civility: Free religion or not? by Makyla (This teen has been a victim of religious discrimination)

    19. Civility: Is it Dead? by Meyer_321 (Civility is a thing of the past)

    20. Civility: A Needle in the Haystack by ZachSpurrier (This teen witnessed other students ignoring a student sitting alone)

    21. Civility: Gone With the Words by thatlorenzgirl (The media is big on “bad words”)

    22. Civility: Has It Been Washed Down The Kitchen Sink? by boomerchad (Today’s society is like the Stone Age)

    23. Civility: The Urge of Common People by lata (Children must be taught to act well)

    24. Civility: The Contradictory Life of an Asian-American by KplusOHminus (Americans and Asians, notably Korean and Japanese people, have very different views on respect)

    25. Civility: It Costs Nothing and Buys Everything by Sydney Claire (Parents are afraid to hurt their children, and will not discipline them)

    26. Civility: Has it Gone? by Lindsehh_Nicole (Civility is determined by parents and friends)

    27. Civility: The Lost Treasure by meganholt (This teen took a “Molly Manners” class)

    28. Civility: A Disused Expectation by MissMelBell98 (People expect teens to be rude, so they are)

    29. Civility: Not the Same as Respect by euiyoung.kim.509 (This teen wears civility like armor)

    30. Civility: It’s for Everyone by AbbieWaters97 (Everyone has the ability to be compassionate)

    Civility Was Gone A Long Time Ago

    1. Civility: Where has it gone? by Citron (Civility died out decades ago)

    2. Civility: A remnant of the past by kwilfong11 (No one says please or thank you anymore)

    3. Civility: Where has civility gone? by beop4 (Civility has always been a concern to every generation)

    4. Civility: Where did it go? by chelsea.l.haley (She interviewed strangers at the store to see their thoughts on manners)

    5. Civility: Civility is rare by Caleb613 (Civility may have never existed)

    6. Civility: Our Ideals Killed Our Manners by hackda (Society destroyed manners)

    7. Civility: An Illusion by CarlaG (We are part of a different culture)

    8. Civility: Where has civility gone? by Sultana Hamza (This teen doesn’t know where civility went)

    9. Civility: Or, Transvaluating Meaningless Values by Ancient Sunlight (A philosophical discussion on civility)

    10. Civility: Faded, Not Gone by mgfrank21 (Society has corrupted happiness and success)

    11. Civility: What is Civility Anyways? by theeyebehimgthelense (Civility depends on the culture)

    12. Civility: It has always been one-sided by mish (Society is anti-woman)

    Civility Still Exists

    1. Civility: Fine then by xxlilbooksxx (Good people still exist among all of the rude people)

    2. Civility: Good Manners and Common Courtesies by angelinah524 (People still say please and thank you and are kind)

    3. Civility: Technology’s Pilferage by mshisiger (Civility exists, but our rapid consumption of technology could mean its decline)

    4. Civility: Where Has Civility Gone? by Ben G (Civility’s definition changes over time)

    5. Civility: Is It How You’re Raised? by sophiabrooks (She went to etiquette classes)

    6. Civility: The Serpent of Culture by Gabriel0340 (Civility depends on your perspective)

    7. Civility: A Transforming Energy by CariFerguson (The rule of society have changed)

    8. Civility: On the Road by worldlit (Civility still exists, but it is tested on the road)

    9. Civility: Chivalry Lives in the Shadows by Isabelk (People look for grand gestures, when chivalry could be something smaller)

    10. Civility: Generation Gap? by pugly100 (Civility is on the rise)

    11. Civility: All is Not Dead by evgousset (Stop focusing on the negative in society)

    12. Civility: Where has Civility Gone? by Jezzrock (Politicians are corrupt, but normal people are not)

    13. Civility: Who Says Chivalry is Dead? by thenamesanya (Civility is changing, not disappearing)

    14. Civility: People Suck by anonymous79778 (Civility is flourishing in certain areas)

    15. Civility: Technology, a Cultivator by cannonsquirrel (Civility is simply different)

    16. Civility: Living on its Dying Breath by FollowTheWrittenWord (Civility still exists, but barely)

    17. Civility: The Common Courtesies by joyce1112 (As long as we are willing to say please and thank you, civility has hope)

    18. Civility: Won’t Go Anywhere by Nano (We want to be civil because it makes us feel good)

    19. Civility: It Depends by thewildyouth (Civility may still exist, but in different situations)

    20. Civility: It’s a Tie! We’re Going to Overtime! by rmaddali (Civility will always exist)

    21. Civility: Common… it is not dead yet by Jolly Good (Civility is buried deep within us)

    22. Civility: Please and Thank You by musicbooklover (We expect civility to come naturally)

    23. Civility: Does it really exist in today’s society? by ravina.mishra (Civility is lost in time)

    24. Civility: Your best friend disguised as an old man on the public bus by boredsandcat (Meanings change over time)

    25. Civility: Don’t be Afraid to Show Your Appreciation by missannat08 (We live in a competitive society, and civility helps our chances of making it)

    26. Civility: Synonym for “Unreliable Social Norm”—See Cliché by PHILosophical (Civility will never disappear)

    27. Civility by PenelopeT (Civility is still alive and kicking)






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