Pi Attitude Zone: Self-Gratification

Young Binge Drinkers Rethink

 The British, particularly the younger generation, have for a while had a socio-cultural reputation for excess where alcoholic drinks are concerned.  Substance abuse among the young has also been more widespread in the UK than elsewhere, contributing to a troubling picture of “binge Britain”, laughing off the responsible life in favor of sex ’n’ drugs and rock’n’roll. 

Except that the stereotype seems suddenly to be less true than before.  Young Brits are now showing a surprising new capacity for sobriety and restraint in the way they live their lives.  Since the turn of the millennium, when nearly three-quarters of British 16-24-year-olds said they had been drinking in the previous week, the proportion has fallen to less than half.  Those admitting to drug-taking were down from 21% in 1998 to barely 11% in 2011. Along with this new abstemiousness, attitudes to sex and promiscuity seem to have taken a turn towards chastity and prudence, with teenage pregnancies down by a quarter in the last decade. 

How to account for such changed behavior?  Various trends have probably contributed.  In a pattern of ten- to fifteen-year cultural cycles, it has been noticed, one generation can react against the perceived excesses of another, a kind of pendulum swing between puritanism and ‘restoration’, echoing the days of Oliver Cromwell and the merry monarch Charles II.

Less cyclical reasons?  Education, recent public health campaigns and pressure from parents and society may have played a part.  Demographic change could be a contributing factor: teens and twenties from British Pakistani and Bangladeshi families, with their more stringent moral codes, represent a growing proportion of young Britons. 

But perhaps most important of all, young people in the recession-hit UK have less spare cash, and seem to be falling back more on cheaper pleasures like texting, tweeting and Facebook.  Nightclubs have certainly seen a fall-off in attendance levels.  Even the kids who still go out on ‘benders’ now tend to chug cheaper supermarket drinks at home before they go clubbing, to avoid paying steep prices at the bar. 

Carefree youth?  In hard times like these, not really…

Zone: Self-Gratification Country: Europe Product – Consumer Products