Friday, March 28, 2008

Teenage Wasteland in Britain

According to an alarming report in Time, the situation of Britain's teenagers is extremely bleak. Violent crime by minors in Britain has rose a whopping 37% between 2003 and 2006. 27% of British 15-year-olds are binge drinkers compared with only 6% in the Netherlands and 3% in France. British teens are the most sexually active in Europe and more girls lose their virginity by age 15. British teens are also more likely than their continental counterparts to use drugs, smoke cigarettes, and frequently be involved in physical fights.

The [London] Times recently described Britain's state-run schools as "war zones". According to a survey done by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers:

"nearly a third of teachers have been punched, kicked, bitten or pinched by children or attacked with weapons or missiles....Twelve per cent said that they had needed to visit a doctor and eight per cent had taken leave from teaching as a result of pupils’ aggression....

Most teachers said that pupil behaviour had worsened in the last two years and many said that low-level disruption – such as pupils talking, not paying attention and refusing requests to turn off mobile phones – was now the norm in classrooms."

The Time magazine article points to peer dependence and a lack of meaningful interaction with adults as the culprit for the youth woes in the U.K [emphasis added].:

"parents aren't always around to help socialize their children — or even just to show them affection. Compared to other cultures, British kids are less integrated into the adult world and spend more time with peers. Add to the mix a class structure that impedes social mobility and an education system that rewards the advantaged, and some children are bound to be left in the cold."

And people worry about the socialization of homeschooled kids?????

1 comment:

Luke Edwards said...

I'm quite pleased that Time Magazine has reported this problem in British society. I myself am from a working class town. The secondary school I went to failed OFSTED inspections regularly, vandalism was rife, I remember a fire being started in the toilets once and one of my friends even brought a pellet handgun into school and got expelled for it.

White lightning and marijuana were commonplace, as was apathy and indifference amongst many of my peers. I experienced firsthand lots of shameless pride and arrogance, witnessing their disrespect for everyone, including themselves.

Thankfully, I did OK at my GCSEs and left the town pursuing further education, but many of my old friends still live there and already have kids, despite being so young. Some joined the army. Others simply claimed benefits or dole money, bought Xboxes and dossed about.

If I can feel the shockwaves of what Time Magazine has reported from my little town, then it is obvious that Britain has a major problem with youth culture. Personally, I definitely blame the parents. Too many parents these days suffer from a Peter Pan complex, so they seem unable to be responsible role models to their children.

Besides, in this postmodern age where authority and grand ideologies are labeled redundant and obsolete, and truth is held up as a mythical concept entirely subjective, then is it any wonder that kids feel like life is meaningless?

I will be writing about this in my blog at some point over the next few days. Feel free to have a read and see what you think. Keep up with the good work. Well done for mentioning this subject.