Welcome to YouthFacts
We Are Debunkers
YouthFacts is dedicated to providing factual information on youth issues –- crime, violence, sex, drugs, drinking, social behaviors, education, civic engagement, attitudes, media, whatever teen terror du jour arises. Since we emphasize demonstrable fact over teen-bashing emotionalism and interest-driven propaganda, the information you find here will be dramatically different than in the major media and political forums.
Example: The truth about school shootings no one talks about
Here are the unvarnished facts about United States school shootings leaders, interest groups, and major media on all sides refuse to engage, because they demolish everyone’s arguments:
1. Even in the worst year for school shootings – even with the Uvalde, Sandy Hook, Parkland, etc. school massacres – a student in an American primary or secondary (K-12) school is safer from being shot than a person in Germany.
2. One 64-year-old shot more people in Las Vegas in 15 minutes than are shot in all 131,000 American schools in four years.
3. A student would have to attend school every school day for 400 years to risk having any kind of shooting (homicide, accident, fatal, non-fatal) anywhere in their school, and for over 200,000 years before risking being fatally shot in or on the grounds of a school.
4. We should be far more frightened when a student leaves school, especially if they are going home, where they are many times more likely to be shot.
5. Why are schools so uniquely safe from gun violence? Because (a) they are heavily occupied by young populations singularly unlikely to shoot themselves or others, and (b) nearly all are gun-free.
6. Why do interest groups on all sides demonize schools as bullet-riddled places students should be terrified to enter? Because all sides choose exploit fears of youth to advance their agendas even at the expense of making schools more dangerous. The rampant hysteria gun-control lobbies create about schools fuels the crazed impetus by gun-rights groups to arm school personnel and officers -a reckless policy that has already caused more school shootings.
The YouthFacts study uses standard Centers for Disease Control, FBI, Education Department, and demographic data to compare the worst recent year for school shootings with gun violence risks elsewhere in American society and other nations, adjusted for the time youths and adults actually spend in those places. Its conclusions are straightforward and factual – and therefore startling and challenging to America’s grossly deceptive gun debate.
The juvenile system’s crisis can be summed up in FBI tabulations of arrests of persons under age 18 for criminal offenses:
- 1995: 2,343,000
- 2022: 408,000
Today, far fewer youths than middle-agers in their 50s are being arrested – a mule-kick to the gut of fossilized notions of crime. Adjustments for FBI crime coverage and youth population growth enhance the astounding teenage crime plunge still more.
No one ever imagined that as America’s teenage population grew and went from heavily White to majority of Color (Latinx, Black, Asian, Native, and other Nonwhite), crime and violence would plummet as never before. In fact, experts had predicted the opposite: a generation of Clockwork-Orange-like “teenage super-predators” marauding cities and countryside alike.
Never have experts been so wrong. Now, the 25-year crash in teenage crime – down an astounding 87% in just one generation – is an existential threat to hordes of academics, officers, corporations, agencies, and advocates dependent on masses of youths shooting, robbing, and stealing.
Youth Facts Contributors
Professor Anthony Bernier teaches youth services at the nation’s largest library school (San Jose State University’s School of Information) and is Project Director for and blogs at YouthFacts.org. He lives in Eugene, Oregon, and rides a Vespa P200E and a BMW C650GT.
Mike Males is senior researcher for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, San Francisco; formerly taught sociology, psychology, and epidemiology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Irvine; and has authored four books and scores of journal articles and op-eds on youth and social topics. He lives in Auburn, California, and writes weird futuristic fiction.
Wendy Schaetzel Lesko‘s experiences as a community organizer and journalist are woven into several of her books including Youth! The 26% Solution. After two decades with the Youth Activism Project, now Wendy leadsYouth Infusion which focuses on adult-run nonprofits and government agencies that engage teens as co-strategists in many organizational operations.
Milo Santamaria is an MLIS student at San Jose State University, and an aspiring children’s librarian. They have been volunteering with children and youth organizations for most of their life and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology at UC Santa Cruz. Milo lives in Southern California and has two pet guinea pigs named Phoebe and Cannoli.
New Blog Posts
Why Are Adults Like This…When They Were All Young Once! I began working closely with adults in my day to day life, working one on one with professors and teachers, and overall seeing myself as an equal. After all, we’ve all been youth once, it’s ridiculous that adults feel as though younger people shouldn’t have a voice. By Addie Lentzner, November 2023
Who is killing California girls? No, it’s not Instagram and TikTok Officials have failed to stem domestic abuse victimizing teens, the real driver of violence and mental health troubles By
Review of Why Aren’t We Doing This Why Aren’t We Doing This: Collaborating with Minors in Major Ways, pushes back on such books lining the nation’s library shelves, with the direct question of its title. Co-authored by the intergenerational team of 19-year-old youth advocate, Denise Webb, and veteran radical youth advocate, Wendy Schaetzel Lesko, they invert the legacy cliches found in conventional and popular non-fiction about today’s young people. By Anthony Bernier, October 2023.
How American Institutions Are Failing Teenage Girls American girls are being abused and murdered at appalling rates in domestic violence by grownups as cowardly authorities from the Surgeon General and mental health lobbies on down indulge ignorant commentaries falsely blaming peers and social media. Meanwhile, today’s generation of supposedly “depressed” girls’ stunning achievements in education and leadership are driving global activism. How long is America going to put up with antiquated prejudices? By Mike Males, October 2023
Librarians Punch Down on Teenagers Toleration for difference, unfettered access to contrary opinions, and the promotion of free expression number among the institution’s core values […] So, it’s all the more disturbing to continually discover national library leaders punching down on the very young people they purport to be defending in these pitched battles. By Anthony Bernier, October 2023
The Kids Online Safety Act denies young people’s freedoms of expression and privacy KOSA is built off of assumptions about what will keep kids safe and what material they should have access to. Seeing an entire group of people as a monolith with the same needs and opinions is dehumanizing, as is debating what’s in their best interest without hearing their diverse opinions. By Milo Santamaria, August 2023
We’ve gotten the “teenage mental health crisis” dangerously wrong Depression drives social media use, not the other way around, while we ignore the real struggles young people face. By Mike Males, July 2023
At least part of the responsibility for the rollback on reproductive choice rests with an unlikely culprit: liberal Hollywood. When viewed against a larger and consistent backdrop these films become a de facto Hollywood anti-abortion campaign. By Anthony Bernier, July 2023
Still Believe in the ‘Undeveloped Teen Brain?’ Well, don’t. Real theories emerge from rigorous examination over long periods of time under varied and different circumstances. Theories are refined over time to include new data, new interpretations, and undergo strenuous peer-review. More authoritative theory undergoes further testing through reproducing the same or similar results in subsequent trials. Ultimately, a theory should reliably explain and predict outcomes. The “teen brain” theory can claim few of these. By Anthony Bernier, June 2023
Mike Males reviews Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents―and What They Mean for America’s Future By Jean M. Twenge This isn’t as bad as her awful (and flatly wrong) Generation Me, but Twenge simply leaves out far too many crucial facts (such as household abuses by parents and grownups victimizing youth, and detailed surveys of how youth actually use screen culture) in joining the stampede to blame social media for every major youth ill. June 2023
The Press’s Desperately Stupid, Unethical Crusade to Inflame Panic over “Youth Violence” News outlets used to regularly feature shootings. Now it’s occasional fistfights, “rowdy teens,” a knife on a bus — in the same terrifying tones. A real, typical week of violence in a California city looks nothing like what one sees in the press. By Mike Males, June 2023