7 Archetypes of Teenagers: Study Shows Teenagers Today are Far From Being Irresponsible

It turns out teens today are far more worldly, financially savvy and equipped to make important life decisions than originally believed

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 7 Archetypes of Teenagers: Study Shows Teens Today are Far from Being Irresponsible

Bring up the topic of teenagers among a group of adults and quite often, the floodgates open. Like a blanket being thrown over an entire demographic of our population, teenagers are all too often perceived and labeled as lazy, entitled, irresponsible and ill-prepared for the future that awaits them.

But according to new research, it’s time to toss out old, stereotypical perceptions of teens and shed light on this generation’s keen awareness and how they’re using these changing times to pave a powerful path for their future.

What the study found is that, as a result of the pandemic, a volatile economy, unemployment and other factors, teenagers are being exposed to issues and challenges that are equipping them for their future.

They may, in fact, still have plenty of growing up to do, but they’re acquiring new abilities such as honing in on their creativity, becoming far more adaptable and learning how to manage extreme uncertainty – all important skills that will benefit them in adulthood.

Additionally, the wealth of instant information readily available at their fingertips renders teenagers today a leg up on what previous generations had to work with to make important life decisions.

It turns out, the on-the-spot, quick access technology our kids can’t seem to get enough of is the same technology that’s giving them a more global view of everything from politics and investing to shopping and career options.

As a result, teenagers are not only far more well informed and socially aware than generation’s past, they’re actually quite worldly and savvy when it comes to making critical life and financial decisions.

It turns out, teenagers today are far from being irresponsible.

According to the study, having access to such a vast amount of information has “allowed teenagers to be self-reliant and in control of their decision-making as well as having strong personal and highly individual aspirations.”

Here’s what the study found:

The 7 Archetypes of Teenagers: Study Shows Teens are Far From Being Irresponsible

Education, Career and Aspirations:

  • 81 percent of teenagers prioritize having a job they love over any need to conform to parental expectations.
  • 70 percent value the role of education in helping them achieve their career goals.

Buying Habits, Financial Security and Saving Money:

Because teenagers are being exposed to the damaging impact of Coronavirus on the economy and unemployment, they’re becoming more keenly aware of managing their money carefully to avoid getting into financial difficulties in the future. According to the study, “Growing up with the consequences of a global recession means teens’ ambitions are underpinned by a strong need and realism for financial security.” 

  • 56 percent of teens claim they put money into savings last month.
  • 60 percent are self-proclaimed savvy shoppers saying they fully research a product before buying.
  • 54 percent say they don’t buy things spontaneously.

Online Habits, Digital Data and Bullying:

Growing up with a cell phone in their hand, the vast majority of teenagers are savvy, knowledgeable and mindful of what content they post and to whom they expose their content to. Still, “they crave digital connection, the ability to share their lives, thoughts and emotions with others in the moment and to be constantly informed and updated about the lives of others.” In fact, 64 percent of teenagers would rather eat the same food for the rest of their life than be without social media.

“With teens, FOMO (fear of missing out) has become FOBO (fear of being offline).”

  • 62 percent of teens take time to consider what they post online to avoid offending others.
  • 80 percent are aware of the potentially harmful future impact of their digital imprint and only share personal content with a close circle of friends or family (63%) with little to no sharing beyond that.
  • 61 percent of teens say online bullying is a major concern.

Among the many statistics, behaviors and attitudes identified in the study, researchers took it a step further and grouped the teens polled into 7 archetypes of teenagers, (none of which are mutually exclusive).

The 7 Archetypes of Teenagers

Confident Aspirers

Do you have a teen who is already thinking about or planning for their career? Chances are, they’re what researchers consider a “confident aspirer.” They’re self-assured for their young age and they enjoy pushing themselves and taking on new challenges. They don’t rely on approval from friends or their family to make their decisions, but rather focus on what’s right for them. They also place a high value on education, but, like many teens, they’re concerned about the cost of education.

Self-Assured Rebels

There’s a good chance we all know a teen like this… they’re self-assured, comfortable with their life, confident in who they are but they like to push boundaries and rules, well… because they can. Still, as confident as they are, they still place a moderate amount of emphasis on what others think of them.

Socially-Aware Butterflies

If your teen puts a lot of time and effort into crafting just the right Instagram photo or caption to get the most amount of view and likes, they just might be considered a “socially aware butterfly.” Even though they’re avid online posters, they’re not only cautious about what they post about themselves, they’re also careful not to post anything that might offend others or negatively affect themselves in the future.

Virtual Virtuosos

Virtual virtuosos are highly savvy internet users. Techy and socially savvy by nature, they place a high priority on protecting their online privacy, blocking advertisements, and not taking everything at face value. Still, given the right circumstances, they’re comfortable and quite happy using online spaces to share their emotions, providing it doesn’t share too much information.

Future Proofer

Future proofer teens are highly focused on their financial security, both in terms of saving money for the future and ensuring it is always spent wisely. These teens won’t randomly make a purchase without thoroughly conducting research and reading the reviews. They value quality and stick with ethical brands and companies.


Have you ever met a teenager who just loves being “in the know?” Trendsetters adore being the go-to person for their friends (or anyone else) seeking insight about everything from the newest tech gadgets and television programs to the best new hangouts and the coolest new trends. If you need to know anything, check in with a “trendsetter.”

Content Addicts

Teens who are content addicts love all forms of TV/video content and being in front of a screen. Chances are their friends are ones they’ve solidified virtually, and their idea of “downtime” is hanging out online scrolling, watching videos, and gaming.

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