Fear Of Youth (Ephebiphobia): Lexicology, Similar Terms, Causes

The fear of youth or ephebiphobia is the fear of being young to go through that process that some qualify as the most complicated stage of life. Experts say this fear is first coined as “fear or hatred of teenagers.” Today the phenomenon is recognized as the “inaccurate, exaggerated and sensational characterization of young people” in several settings worldwide. Studies on youth phobia are conducted in sociology and youth studies.


The word ephebiphobia is formed from the Greek ἔφηβος éphēbos, which means “young” or “adolescent,” and φόβος phóbos, which means “fear” or “phobia.” The coinage of this term is attributed to a 1994 article by Kirk Astroth published in Phi Delta Kappan. Today, everyday use occurs internationally by sociologists, government agencies, and youth advocacy organizations that define ephebiphobia as an abnormal or irrational and persistent fear and hatred of adolescents or adolescents.

Similar terms

  • Pedophobia has gained widespread acceptance in Europe to describe the aforementioned “fear of youth.”
  • Pedophobia is the fear of babies and children.
  • Hebrofobia (from the Greek ἥβη, hḗbē, “youth, puberty”) has also been proposed.
  • Similar terms include adultism, which is a bias toward adults against children and youth, and aging, which describes discrimination against anyone because of their age.


Fear of youth, along with the anxiety of street culture and fear of crime, are said to have been in Western culture for “a long time immemorial” [9]. Machiavelli is said to have realized that fear of youth prevented the city of Florence from maintaining an army standing [10]. Ancient Venice and Ancient Greece are also wavering public policy due to their fear of youth.

During the Industrial Revolution, the popular media in Western Europe and North America were mainly driven to spread fear to children and young people to promote the industrialization of schooling and eventually to withdraw young people from education. Workplace when their work became unnecessary due to mechanization and the influx of new workers.

After World War II, France was said to have been affected by concern for the evil of young people when they created policies that reflected their fear of youth. “After World War II, the US military identified the growing number of young people in the Deep South as a problematic setting for national security. Analysts have suggested that the rise of fear of youth in popular culture can be attributed to the defense policies created in response to that threat.

«In the 1990s, public fear of adolescents increased», caused by «increased access of young people to firearms, the unionization of territorial youth gangs in illegal drug cartels, racist stereotypes of the urban youth, academic and political pimping, media frenzy, and a series of high-profile school shootings of students by their peers. Seattle Weekly specifically cited fear of children as the driving factor behind Seattle the now-defunct Washington Teen Dance Ordinance. The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair introduced the Anti-Social Behavior Order in 1998, which has also been directly attributed to fear of youth.

You may also like to read: Dental Fear: Evaluation, Causes, Treatments, Help The Patient.


  • Since young people in developed countries are expected to remain out of the workforce, any role they play outside of consumers is potentially threatening to adults.
  • Selling security to parents and teachers has also been a driving force, as home security systems, mobile phones, and the use of computer surveillance are marketed to parents; and x-ray machines, metal detectors, and closed-circuit television are increasingly being sold to schools on the premise that young people cannot be trusted.
  • These steps are even though experience consistently shows that monitoring young people does little to prevent violence or tragedy: The Columbine High School massacre occurred in a building with video surveillance and police inside the building.
  • The very creation of the terms youth, adolescence, and adolescence has been attributed to fear of youth.
  • As the Western world industrialized, young people were increasingly forced to leave the workforce, including involuntary and voluntary positions, and into increasingly comprehensive institutions where they lost their autonomy in favor of control. Social.
  • Government policies outside of schools have also been implicated, as well as, over the past 40 years, curfews, anti-loitering and recruitment laws, and other laws targeting adolescents that have been enforced across the world. Country.
  • The courts have also increasingly ruled against the rights of young people.
  • Before the 1940s, “teens” didn’t make headlines because, as a group, they didn’t exist.
  • Since the Second World War, the impact of young people on Western society has been immense, primarily driven by marketing that proposes them as the “Other.”
  • In turn, young people are made to behave in ways that seem different from adults.
  • This has led to the phenomenon of youth and, in turn, has created a perpetual fear of them.

Effects edit

Fear of youth is believed to exist throughout the Western world. Sociologist Ray Oldenburg has attributed the generation gap and the “increasing segregation of youth from adults in American society” to “alienation from adults and fear of youth.”

Social discrimination

“Today, citizens as a whole, as well as people who work with children, live in fear of youth in our homes, schools, and on our streets.” At the same time, “society loves their attractive bodies, youth, and commercial firepower,” we also “vilify adolescents as a drain that does not contribute to the economy and our democracy.”

  • In the mainstream media, young people are often portrayed as selfish and apathetic, disinterested in the common good or promoting social goals.
  • Poet Gwendolyn Brooks was applauded for her awareness-raising work around the fear of youth, particularly young African Americans.
  • Contemporary popular beliefs about adolescents are different from historical narratives; in the past young people were portrayed as “the future” and the “leaders of tomorrow”; today, they are seen as “a source of concern, not potential,” contributing to the fear of adolescents, especially racial and ethnic minorities.
  • This racist and adult perspective informs urban security forces, public schools, and social services.
  • Sociologists have suggested that much of the current spread of fear of youth is due to “the anxiety of adults about the changing racial mix in the general population.”
  • However, New York University Professor Pedro Noguera has suggested that fear of youth goes beyond the limits of color, as “skateboarders, punks, and even suburban inline teens upright can evoke anxiety among adults by congregating in large numbers in places considered off-limits to youth. ‘

Young people’s ability to participate in society is compromised by fear of youth and is often disguised as paternalism or protectionism among adults.

  • Furthermore, scholar Henry Jenkins “links criticism of new media with fear of adolescents, the most anxious adopters.
  • Adolescent culture seems pointless and dangerous without an appreciation of its context.

Trade profit

  • Academics specifically recognize the strength of ephebiphobia in the commercial sector, where this fear of youth has been widely exploited for profit.
  • This is developed by researchers and social critics who claim that popular media, including film and television, specifically exacerbated society’s fear of youth for gain; according to a study, “Extreme fear of child is an established media panic. ‘
  • Ironically, it has also been said that the effects of popular media on young people are not as powerful as fear of youth, which drives fear of technology and, in turn, perpetuates fear of a child.

Government policy

It has been found that the decision by government agencies, including public schools, police, and courts, is driven by fear of youth.

  • It has been said that the fear of adolescents causes a trade-off between what is said about the value of young people and what is done to them in education and social services and causes them to be seen «mainly as threats – to the people, for the institutions, for the status quo.”
  • American sociologist Mike Males has identified trends among politicians and policymakers to stoke the fear of being young in society to advance political campaigns and build popular support to ‘create a sensation in the mass media and public fear ».
  • Similarly, fear of youth has been identified as the driving factor behind many government programs designed to combat so-called ‘youth violence, in which the actions of a few young people are attributed to the general youth population.
  • One specific case, “In Dallas, fear of youth-led to accelerated vigilance and surveillance, particularly in its poorest area, Gastón.”
  • Fear of adolescents is also said to have caused many governments to lower their age of criminal responsibility and increase the detention of young people from childhood to adulthood.


In examining the Black Power movement of the 1970s, one researcher wrote:

  • “The common adult fear and aversion to youth are compounded by the teachers’ fear of losing control in the classroom, the fear of losing authority.”
  • A specific increase in fear of youth in schools after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre is considered a particular cause in the evidence suggesting an overall decline in student participation in all high schools today.

The fear of youth has led to the development of zero tolerance policies in many schools, which in turn is attributed as the cause of the increase in arrests for juvenile crimes in schools, which has promoted fear of youth and has prompted school administrators to call the police for infractions that were once dealt with internally.

fight ephebiphobia

  • The American Library Association has developed a collection of resources for librarians specifically to combat ephebiphobia by promoting youth-specific customer service skills.
  • However, sociologist Mike Males has suggested that ephebiphobia does not analyze the problem deeply enough, as fear of the adult stereotype of adolescence, or coulrophobia, is the central challenge facing young people today.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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