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Parents: You Don't Know Your Teens as Well as You Think

by Staff
February 16, 2010
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SEATTLE, ( -- Maybe parents don't know their teens as well as they think. According to a new 30 Hour Famine study, less than one in ten parents of teens (9%) describe teenagers today as "generous". More than half of parents (58%) describe teenagers as "lazy", and almost as many (54%) describe teens as "selfish". And yet more than half of those teens themselves (53%) say the current economic climate has made them more aware of the needs of others. And almost nine out of ten (89%) of teens in the same online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive in January, say they wish they could do more to help those in need.

According to the study, commissioned by World Vision, an international charity, only about three in five parents (62%) say their teenagers support charitable causes or organizations, whereas almost three out of four teens (74%) report that they do. In fact, 38% of teens say they support charities actively by volunteering their time or participating in an event like a run, a walk or a fast day like 30 Hour Famine.

58% of parents say teens today are lazy - 9% of parents say teens are generous

91% of parents say they try to emphasize the importance of charity to their teen
68% of teens say their parents try to emphasize the importance of charity

39% of parents say their teen has become more aware of the needs of others
53% of teens say they've become more aware of the needs of others

"These findings paint American kids in a new but accurate light -- informed, global citizens who understand that solvable social problems like poverty and hunger exist everywhere around the world," says Justin Greeves, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Policy Research with Harris Interactive.

Next month, hundreds of thousands of American teens will go hungry in an effort to help Haiti quake survivors and fight global hunger through World Vision's 30 Hour Famine. This year, a portion of funds raised by 30-Hour Famine groups will go toward Haiti's long-term recovery. More than 200 youth groups nationwide have already contacted World Vision about designating 30 Hour Famine funds to Haiti relief.

Pat Rhoads, World Vision's 30 Hour Famine Manager says, "I'm really excited and grateful that teens here can have a direct impact on teens and children in Haiti. Many wish they could go there and help the people of Haiti. This is a way to directly help them, even if they can't make the trip." Rhoads has been working with youth groups through the 30-Hour Famine for the last seven years. Since 30 Hour Famine started in 1992, groups participating in Famine events have raised more than $130 million.

February 26th & 27th, (there's also another National Date April 23rd-24th) hundreds of thousands of teens will participate in World Vision's 19th annual 30 Hour Famine, forsaking food for 30 hours to get a taste of what the world's poorest children face. Prior to the event, teens raise funds by explaining that $1 can help feed and care for a child a day. So $1 for each hour they'll fast, $30, can feed and care for a child for a whole month. As they fast, teens consume only water and juice as they participate in local community service projects (at food banks, soup kitchens and homeless shelters). Part of the funds from this year's 30 Hour Famine will go toward long-term relief in Haiti after the January 12th quake. Last year's 30 Hour Famine raised close to $11 million with funds going to fight global hunger. This year's fund-raising goal is $12 million.

Tonight, almost 1 billion people worldwide will go to bed hungry -- that's one out of every six people on earth. 25,000 children die each day from hunger and preventable diseases. Chronic poverty, affecting half the people on earth, is the cause. Nearly 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day.

Where does 30 Hour Famine money go? Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, Mauritania, Pakistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other targeted spots where famine, conflict and other crises make children vulnerable. A portion of 30 Hour Famine funds are also used to address poverty here in the U.S.

World Vision works in 100 countries, helping approximately 100 million people every year. Visit or call 800-7-FAMINE for more information.

30-Hour Famine groups available for interviews weekend of Feb 26-27 in these and other cities:

North Carolina (Charlotte)
St. John's Episcopal - one of the nations top 30 Hour Famine fundraisers raised almost $80,000 last year.

Southern California
Trinity United Presbyterian Church (Santa Ana) students raised more than $30,000 last year.

Massachusetts (Boston area)
United Church of Christ last year raised more than $28,000

Oregon (Portland area)
Beaverton Christian Church -- at least 500 teens expected at 30 Hour Famine rally.

The poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of World Vision, an international Christian relief and development organization, between January 6th and January 12th 2010 via the ParentQuery online omnibus service among 526 U.S. adults ages 18 + who are parents of teens ages 13-17 and between January 13th and January 19th, 2010 via the YouthQuery online omnibus service among 641 youth ages13-17. For complete methodology, including weighing variables, please contact John Yeager.

About World Vision -- World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. World Vision serves the world's poor regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, visit

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