With rising living standards, today's teenagers can enjoy all kinds of material comforts. The large number of small families means that parents can spend more time and money on catering to their child's every whim. But, indulgent parents and a comfortable upbringing have not spawned a generation of happy youngsters. While parents and grandparents endured war and economic hardship and learned to take difficulties in their stride, today's young people buckle easily under pressure. A parental rebuke or criticism from teachers may be enough to trigger suicidal thoughts. An average of 30 teenagers commit suicide each year, according to figures compiled by the Suicide Prevention Services over the past decade. Today's young people also suffer from low self-esteem. They are bombarded by an image-obsessed media to the extent that, in the numerous surveys conducted on youth self-image, many teens use their physical appearance as the only yardstick against which to measure their self-confidence. Girls view slimness as beauty and go to great lengths to be thin - anything from starving themselves to taking laxatives. Teenagers of today also lack spiritual contentment. They wear designer or brand-name clothing and expensive accessories, but shun meaningful pursuits which can give them mental, spiritual and emotional fulfilment. A growing number of young people are becoming 'parasite singles' - young adults who live with their parents long after graduation. These youngsters don't make any financial contribution to their families. While some might help with household chores, most just enjoy the free housekeeping, meals and laundry. Many people blame parents and society for the apathetic youth of today. Social researchers often cite broken families, work-obsessed parents, an unhealthy media and the competitive education system as factors. They say the lack of parental love and a violent media are the primary causes of youth crime. The exam-oriented education system has also been criticised for putting stress on young people. But, whatever factors are to blame, many feel it's time young people take responsibility for their actions and take charge of their own lives. Think about 1. Are you suffering from any problems? Share them with your classmates and teachers. 2. Can you think of other woes besides those mentioned in the article that are afflicting today's young people? 3. Instead of blaming society and parents, do you think teenagers should take responsibility for their own actions? 4. What solutions can you come up with to deal with youth problems?