If we pay attention solely to popular media's portrayals of youth, we might be tempted to believe that adolescents are more free and powerful today than ever before. But some have detected a cultural hostility toward young people, manifested as blaming them for everything from rising crime rates to cultural decline.
Adolescence has a relatively brief history. It did not emerge as an identifiable life stage until the early 20th century. Perhaps the most important influence on its development was capitalism's second technological phase, which rendered the unskilled labor of youth unnecessary and unwanted.