Monday, 3 February 2014


Labour in the United Kingdom brought in the widely reviled ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) and the Conservative-Liberal coalition are trying to do them one better with IPNA which stands for Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance.  A review of comments from local UK police forces quickly reveal that the number one target of ASBOS and IPNAS are youth. As Guardian writer Janet Street-Porter wrote “Have you noticed how the hackneyed phrase "antisocial behaviour" is generally in the same sentence as teenager?

What is driving this Anti Youth mentality?  According to psychologist and TV presenter Tanya Byron adults in the U.K.are suffering from ephebiphobia - fear of young people.  There have been a number of studies which support this.

One study compared the views of 185 teenagers (aged 11-15) at a Greater London comprehensive school in 2006 with those of over 200 adult residents in the same area, in order to establish whether there are significant age-related differences. The questionnaire listed 18 different behaviours (from ‘assaulting a police officer’ to ‘young people hanging around in streets/parks’) and set out a series of vignettes to capture the views of the two groups.

The study revealed  a wide variety of behaviours that adults identified as anti-social including acts ranging serious crimes to everyday activities such as gathering in groups and playing football in the street.  Indeed 40% of adults saw young people’s presence in public places, regardless of their behaviour, as anti-social behavior.  Similarly more than 60% of adults listed cycling or skateboarding on the street as ASB.

The leader of the study, Hulley, noted that the “identification of behaviour as anti-social involved an interpretative process that is not based simply on the behaviour itself but on the age of those involved.”  He further stated “My research confirms that young people are particularly likely to be labelled perpetrators of ASB - especially by adult observers - and are less likely to be recognised as victims of ASB.”

A 200-page report done for The Institute for Public Policy Research in 2006 found that more than 1.5 million Britons thought about moving away from their local area due to young people hanging around.  About 1.7 million admitted to avoiding going out after dark as a direct result of youths gathering.  Britons were also three times more likely to cite young people "hanging around" as a problem than they were to complain about noisy neighbours.

A recent Best Value User satisfaction survey (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2007) found that 57 per cent of respondents reported young people hanging around on the streets as a big or fairly big problem(this percentage was higher compared to otherantisocial behaviours, such as vandalism and littering).  The “children’s tsar”, Sir Aynsley-Green said in a recent speech the “demonisation and lack of empathy for young people is a major issue for England. It causes anger and alienation”. In fact normal youth behaviour, such as gathering in public places and playing ball games, was being demonised, that is, the attitudes about so-called juvenile criminals had become one of the most severe for generations.


  1. It's ironic that the adults and elderly are criminalizing the activities that they participated in as youth. I think the assault on youth is a result of the near total domination of politics these days by geriatrics who have completely forgotten what it was like as a youth.

  2. I think they're trying to create generation of super kids!