By Leah McLaren - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 0 Comments
Leah McLaren on the fate of their generation
The vision of Britain as a teenage wasteland full of drunk and disaffected kids is as old as the notion of modern youth culture itself. And in times like these—coloured by high unemployment, rising tuition costs, cuts to social welfare and a steadily declining marriage rate (resulting in an increase of single-parent families)—it seems a no-brainer that the youth of today would be doing what bored, broke, idle kids are famed for doing best: getting wasted and raising hell.
And yet, oddly enough, nothing could be further from the truth.
According to a recent crime survey, all statistical indicators show that British kids are all right—though not in the way the Who meant it. Instead of acting out in hard times, young Britons of today are, counterintuitively, much better behaved than before the recession.
In 1998, 71 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds said they’d consumed alcohol in the previous week, but in 2010, that number fell to just 48 per cent. Teenage drug use has dropped almost 10 percentage points in the same period. School truancy rates have fallen in recent years, along with youth criminality and teen pregnancies, which are down an encouraging quarter since 1998.