Shift in Risky Behaviour among Young Brits

Young Brits are turning their back on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, but are more prone to self-harm and eating disorders, according to recent research. A newly published government paper draws particular attention to the growing influence of social media and the Internet on young people’s behaviour. While drug use, binge drinking and teen pregnancy were a real worry in the past, today’s teens are more likely to fall victims to cyber-bullies and are more frequently exposed to “hate content, self-harm and pro-anorexia” websites. Eating disorders and self-harm have become more common in recent years, especially among young women. Recent research suggests that a third of 15-year-old girls has experimented with self-harm. “We still do seem to have a problem with young people not feeling happy, not feeling supported – communication between parents and children in this country is not as good as it is in others,” says Suzie Hayman, spokeswoman for Family Lives.