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Prince Charles rules sort of OK on youth

Posted by Paul Seaman in Media / Rights / Truth & Trust on 8 August 2008

Why we posted this: Prince Charles knows something about young people, and cares more than most. But the headine alarm about his new research may make us over-anxious.

The original story:
“Lack of role models” fuels gangs
BBC Online
8 August 2008

Summary of the story:
A lack of parental and other adult role models is driving young people into gangs, according to the Prince’s Trust.

livingissues comment:
The bad news is that this research is not comparative. It provides no insight to how it was ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Hence it is difficult to know what to make of the fact that one in three young people in the UK say they do not think of their own parents as people they respect.

The good news is that these research findings debunk the image of youth out of control. Only 3% of youth take drugs regularly and only 2% carry a knife.

The new data seems to confirm a modern trend. Our fellow citizens seem to rely on each other rather than the outside world for rules and information. More than half of the teenagers (55%) cited friends and peers as role models and almost a quarter (22%) said young people are looking for role models in gangs.

We sort of suspect this, don’t we? Everything about modern culure makes us suspect that people are gossiping amongst themselves rather than listening to authority figures. What’s more, the young see evidence of older people abandoning adulthood. So what’s to admire? 

Modern PR assumes that for all age groups, not just teenagers, “individuals looking for news, information and cues are relying less on institutions and more on each other”. Which suggests that trust and community still matter very much. 

People have always joined gangs to gain an identity. The 1960s had its problems with Mods, rockers, skinheads and the Tongs. The 1970s saw football hooliganism become a major youth sport. All such movements involved rebellion against traditional family and societal authority. But most gang members in the past went on to build their own family units. (Carol Sarler usefully pointed this out in The Times.) This research offers no suggestion that the future will be much different.

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