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Kicking our audience

Rod McKenzie Rod McKenzie | 13:40 UK time, Friday, 3 November 2006

"It's time to bring back the cane!"

Radio One logoNo, not the view of a crusty colonel from the home counties in response to this week's news that British teenagers are just about the most badly behaved in Europe. That's Chloe's view - a teenager herself - who argued on our website that borstals and tough prisons work as well as corporal punishment. Teenagers need to show more respect, she argues, and if she is out of order with her parents she knows she can expect a slap.

Plenty of people had their say on this: Bear in mind our audience are both teenagers and twentysomethings - so we're not talking about a big generation gap here. Our reporters, our text response and our online talking point at Newsbeat were deluged with views. Many teenagers complained there was little for them to do, so it's hardly surprising they get into scrapes. Our twentysomethings tended to be more critical - blaming bad parenting, relaxed licensing laws and social factors such as being born into poverty or the breakdown of traditional family units.

Our teenagers were much more split in their views. There were many who argued that adults, "should leave them alone/get off their backs". Dave told us that he's a binge drinker and loves it. All had stories of Saturday night fights after the binging went bad. Others were critical of us media types, researchers and others who lump teenagers into one group of evil, snarling, aggressive, hard drinking and drug taking hoodies. Plenty of people to point out that there's a lot of good behaviour around - voluntary work - caring for sick and elderly relatives and much more teenage 'respect' than the government gives them credit for.

Lots of intelligent solutions too, from better diet to parenting classes to investment in youth and sports clubs.

Did we feel uncomfortable covering this story given our audience was coming in for a pasting? Someone asked me if this was the sort of story the rest of BBC News could happily cover but that we might want to shy away from, for fear of upsetting our audience or patronising them. The level of debate and engagement from our teenage listeners proves that wrong, I think - and say what you like about today's teenagers, but they're willing to join the debate about all aspects of modern life in Britain.

Last word to Chloe: "We're not all bad but those of us who understand manners and courtesy get blacked out by those who don't."


  • 1.
  • At 11:21 PM on 03 Nov 2006,
  • anon wrote:

Guess who received daily beatings from his father? That's right, Adolf Hitler. Not to mention the current parents of the "teenage tearaways" are those who received "corporal punishment" from extremely sadistic parents and teachers.

  • 2.
  • At 04:44 AM on 04 Nov 2006,
  • Joanne wrote:

No, bad behavior is the product of the adults in our worldly society. Alcohol is a poison, destroys the mind and body yet it is accepted by society because the alcoholics have convinced the world it is cool to be drunk on poison and to die from it because it takes over their minds. It can be hidden, in fact, most of the government leaders and representatives are drunks. The mind becomes so deceptively deranged that hardly any logical decisions can be made. (Terrorists love this). Not one single family home with children should be in the midst of alcoholic beveraged adults. It's no wonder there is so much abuse going on between people of all ages but the biggest toll is on the young. Don't be mislead by our alcohol poisoned society. You'll be on the right tract if you can see thru the tragedy of it all as a young person.

AA should be a world wide instruction base as it would at least be a start but the bottom line is that world wide campaigns to inform people that alcohol kills and this is not acceptable to any form of a decent life. Parents who get drink while they are raising children should be taken away to rehab and their children will learn to live respectfully and to be respected as they should be.

I, for one, am glad this is coming to a head. ALCOHOL KILLS!

  • 3.
  • At 02:55 PM on 04 Nov 2006,
  • J Westerman wrote:

Here we go again. The return of violence in our schools towards badly behaved children is always good for a story.
If our children are so much worse than those in the many countries that would not contemplate violence by teachers, why have we not asked those counties to help us?
Have people forgotten that the small proportion of teachers with paedophiliac tenancies would be let loose again on all the children?

  • 4.
  • At 10:21 PM on 04 Nov 2006,
  • r.muggeridge wrote:

I enjoyed the programme; lots of interesting comment & analysis. Your editor's webblog comment makes sound points too. However, you blot your blog in 1 section!
You call suggestions for "changing diet etc.. 'intelligent solutions'", but, clearly Chloe's less than BBC PC views of "harsher sentences" does not rate such a commendation. It must be hard for the BBC to find it is constantly out of touch with the majority because as was clearly demonstrated in the programme Chloe's views on how to deal with unpleasant characters in our midst was the prevailing one!

  • 5.
  • At 06:09 AM on 05 Nov 2006,
  • Nancy wrote:

The solution isn't caning, it's creating a sense of worth in young people. Look at how too many live- stuck in some limbo between childhood and adult. They are not permitted the things teens in past eras were doing without a second thought- read some history books. Even as young as 11 or 12 children in the past were expected to make decisions, take on responsibilities, and achieve things. They had no time for boredom. And I'm not talking sending kids down to the mines or 6 year olds working in spinning factories. They learned a trade from their father, they had jobs that were expected (in the family trade or on the family farm), and they felt better about themselves. They knew who they were and what they were capable of. Society needs to create some substitute, stop listening to the inhibiting theories of too many child psychologists, and let young people on the cusp of adulthood step forward and be adults. Instead of fearing them and being suspicious of them, try trusting them. Give them something to live up to. The results might surprise you.

  • 6.
  • At 11:10 AM on 06 Nov 2006,
  • John Williams wrote:

When smacking children was out-lawed it criminalised caring, honest parents. The children it sought to protect from vicous beatings were not protected as inflicting injury on a child has always been an offence. Smacking children is perfectly acceptable so long as it is infrequent, a last resort and - most importantly - the children know why they are being smacked and they were aware that this was likely prior to doing whatever they did wrong.

Bringing this back into schools will not do any harm. So long as this is properly inforced and regulated then there is no risk to the children. Standards of discipline in schools continues to fall and it needs seriously addressing. If people are against smacking, then what do they propose as an alternative?

  • 7.
  • At 02:21 PM on 06 Nov 2006,
  • Sam wrote:

anon :1

If thats so then why is it that children are considerably more badley bahved than they were 50 years ago when corperal punishment at home and in the school was the norm?

Its becuase of people pussy footing around children making them think they have 'rights' and there opinion is worth listening too that we have this problem today.

In education part of the problem is that in England the whole system is heavily weighted in favour of girls, boys are discouraged from competeing with each other and endless coursework is given out. Competitive sport is frowned upon and dicipline of any kind, never mind corperal, is non existant. Couple that with a general lack of fathers in the home and you have boys who have no direction no role model and nothing to aim for. Also children who once (10 years ago) would of been sent to a special school are now sent to the same schools as normal children which causes huge problems in terms of disruption of lessons etc.

Although i don't why i am bothering to reply seeing as i posted a comment the same minute this article was posted and it was censored, which as a license payer and someone who works in a school who has a point to make i feel resentful of.

  • 8.
  • At 06:46 PM on 08 Nov 2006,
  • amanda wrote:

There's no college NFL.

NFL= Professional footbal.

College level football is not assocaiated with the NFL.

This is in response to this article...

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