The Savage Generation; (1) Scots Teenagers Are among the Worst Behaved in Europe, Says Shock New Study (2) Drinking, Violence and Sexual Activity Soar as Children Fail to Learn Social Skills (3) Youngsters Have Little Contact with Family as They Choose Life on the Streets

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Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

SCOTTISH teenagers are growing into a generation of violent, binge drinking 'drifters' who spend less time with their families than any other children in Europe.

A worrying new report says more than half of 15-year-olds north of the Border go out with friends on four or more evenings a week.

The resulting lack of adult contact means they miss out on learning vital social skills and are more likely to get drunk regularly, get involved in fights and become sexually active.

Overall, 53 per cent of Scottish 15-yearolds spend three or fewer evenings a week in the company of their increasingly busy fathers and mothers - 48 per cent of girls and 59 per cent of boys. In England, the overall figure is 39.5 per cent.

But in Portugal, only 5 per cent of youngsters spend more time with their friends than their family.

The study also found that British youngsters were the most likely to be drunk, violent or sexually active - and more than a third regularly ate meals away from their families.

Compiled by the Institute of Public Policy Research, the statistics will be presented in a report to the Government next week.

They appeared to show teenagers were increasingly growing up without proper access to help and mature advice from adults.

This could help explain Scotland's soaring number of NEETs - youngsters who are 'not in education, employment or training'.

Children in Finland and the Ukraine enjoyed the secondleast family time, with both countries scoring 50 per cent.

By contrast, Portuguese teenagers spent more time with parents and siblings than any others in Europe.

And while Italian, French or German teenagers regularly ate with their families and spent more time in mixed-age company, British children were far more likely to be left to their own devices.

As a result, the teenagers most often socialised with other children their age - but missed out on developing the social skills acquired when spending time with adults.

The report also states that 27 per cent of teenagers in the UK are regularly drunk, the highest in Europe.

That compares with only 3 per cent of French teenagers and 5 per cent in Italy.

British teenagers are also the most aggressive, with 44 per cent having been involved in a fight in the past year. …