British teens: “worst-behaved in Europe”

The Institute for Public Policy Research revealed in a report in 2007 that the British teens seem to be the worst-behaved in Europe. This study found out that 44 per cent of British teens had been involved in a fight in the previous year, while it was the case with only 28 per cent in Germany, 36 per cent in France and 38 per cent in Italy.

I had always heard about violence in London specifically but had no idea that teen violence was such a big issue in the UK. What made me dwell on this subject was a street fight I witnessed earlier on today.

Two boys were wrestling and everybody stood there like it was some kind of show. Some young girls were even giggling and filming the appaling scene. As one of the boys was being choked, only one woman stood out from the crowd and started shouting “Let him go! Let him go!” and even reprimanded the girls that were filming, saying “Don’t you have something better to do? You idiots!”

Photo: Courtesy of the Self-Defense Hub

Quentin Tarantino once said: “Violence is one of the most fun things to watch.” Judging by his films, it’s a pretty predictable statement. But I couldn’t disagree more. It is humiliating, scary and you can’t help but feel powerless in a situation like this.

In 2002, more than 877,700 young people (ages 10 to 24) in Britain were injured from violent acts, and approximately 1 in 13 required hospitalization. But when you read numbers like these in newspapers you don’t realize the seriousness of the issue; as Mao Zedong once said: “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”

The main British parties always vow to address the issue of teen crime, but I think the mentality of the people is the real issue here. How can watching violence be entertaining? Why would you want to film two people getting hurt and show it to your friends? Even more shockingly, how could you laugh at the situation?

To be honest, I can’t say I’m too surprised. More and more people get tickets to watch wrestling, which in my opinion shouldn’t even be considered a sport. Playing video games of which the aim is to chop one’s head off has become the norm.  Maybe I’m too sensitive or easily startled, but in my view if things continue this way then it is no wonder that teen violence will continue rocketing.

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10 Comments

Filed under Living in London

10 responses to “British teens: “worst-behaved in Europe”

  1. Kamilla Nyegaard-Larsen

    Oh, I so agree with you!
    Whenever I see a fight I go into “cartoon mode”, where nothing seems real anymore. I think it’s my way of processing the whole thing.
    Anyways, you should come up North with me once, and see the youth in Manchester, Liverpool, Blackburn, Blackpool, and Burnley, for that matter. Ugh. No, fighting is childish! It proves you have no idea how to express yourself and your feelings.

    • Inês Azevedo

      Ugh, is it that much worse in those cities? And I totally agree with your last argument, wouldn’t have put it better myself!

  2. Very interesting article…
    Violence is “fun” to watch when it is put into scene. I mean, Million Dollar Baby is about boxing and breaking noses and necks, but because there is another dimension to it, “art”, we like it (people always like it).
    However, a raw street fight isn’t very nice to watch, that’s true…

    • Inês Azevedo

      Thank you! 🙂 Yes, I understand what you mean, but personally even violence on the screen doesn’t attract me. But of course you are right, as long as no one gets hurt and it happens in another dimension, as you put it, it’s alright!

  3. mAna

    Leitura fascinante e perturbadora. A diferença que faz um enquadramento familiar afectuoso e orientador!
    Sigo com muita curiosidade os relatos da tua vivência londrina. Conta-nos mais e mostra-lhes como se faz, Inês! 🙂

  4. lol my comment was basically as long as the article.

  5. Yeah British teens are the worst. I hate teenagers in London. Thank God I left that behind me 5 months back haha.
    Fighting’s not nice though. I’m not gonna lie, if the two people fighting are pathetic and no one is ACTUALLY getting hurt, then it can be quite entertaining, watching two idiots taking chunks out of the air or grabbing at each other’s asses.
    But when things get serious it’s really not nice to look at. It’s surprising that I think that really, because I can easily watch boxing and similar sports but I think it’s just the intent behind street-fighting sometimes…..it’s sad to see two people reduced to that and it’s actually quite sad to see two people try and cause serious harm to each other (as cliched or cheesy as that sounds). Because when you step back and think about it, it’s usually over something really pointless.
    These two racist white guys were on this packed train I got on the other day, they stunk of alcohol and were clearly saying something to someone down the carriage (I had headphones on). Anyway it ended up that it was an asian guy they were telling to get off so they could beat him up. Eventually the guy did and they ran round, and punched the him to the floor. That was really shit to see (only way I can think to describe the feeling). But what was more alarming was that everyone saw it coming and no one did a damn thing about stopping it, or the two guys as they casually walked off. Humans are pretty much cowards.

    I remember seeing a video of this Palestinian and Jewish guy just battering each other. I was literally looking away. It was the first thing I’ve ever seen that I just couldn’t bare to watch.
    And these Egyptians who are killing each other as we speak. I mean, if a supporter of Mubarak runs in to a crowd of anti-Mubarak supporters and starts getting beaten the hell out of, then surely someone would realise fairly quickly that’s he’s one of their own people. They’re all Egyptians and we’re all humans, blessed with a brain so we don’t have to go around beating each other to death.

    One last point (lol I promise), without out doubt the worst of all this kind of “videoing fights” I’ve seen, is all the ‘Ghetto Brawls’ on youtube. It’s basically videos of cracked-out black people, from ghettos in America, fighting and rolling around on the floor. These are poor people who have been exploited enough already by a system that doesn’t care for them, and they’re trapped in shit-holes of neighbourhoods, left to take their anger out on those around them, not understanding who the real enemy is/where the real problems lay. So idiots want to video these people and communities fighting amongst each other as they gradually implode. It’s sad to see.
    The only comfort I get when seeing stuff like that is the fact that they’re all pretty lousy fighters so no one ever really gets too hurt.

  6. Inês Azevedo

    I think that violence is becoming banal too. Thank you for your support! 🙂

  7. cristina

    no, you are not too sensitive or easily startled !!!!! startling is the way violence is slowly becoming a “normal” element in our lives. news, films, videos, games are numbing the global audience. it is vital that you do not stop being sensitive to this state of things. good work !!!!!!!

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