Don't Call Us the Asbo Generation

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Byline: By Molly Watson Western Mail

Despite being dubbed the 'Asbo generation', contemporary teenagers have today revealed a softer side by overwhelmingly naming their mams as the figure they admire the most. A nationwide survey has dispelled the stereotype of a younger generation more interested in their games console and celebrity culture than family life, with mothers revealed as the most important figures in their lives.

Nearly half of teenagers questioned said their mother was their most important role model, one in five named their mother as the adult they admired the most and 67% said their mothers have had a very good influence on their lives. Fathers also scored well in each of the categories.

In comparison celebrities rated poorly, suggesting that the stereotype of a celebrity-driven youth-culture is little more than a myth.

Asked about the impact of celebrities, most teenagers said they had a negative influence, with popstars, footballers and celebrities such as Pete Doherty being named as the worst role models.

They also said they thought adults should take their views more seriously.

The study carried out by nfpSynergy questioned more than one thousand 13 to 18-year-olds across the UK.

Chief executive of Children in Wales Catriona Williams said the findings were not surprising and tied in with the charity's own research.

Although adolescents have always been impressed by popstars, she said they derive their values from the adults looking after them. And she added, changes in society mean children are now closer to their parents than they had ever been before.

She said, 'There is certainly more direct communication between adults and children now than there was.

'Society is more open and able to talk about emotions.

'It's a change from when children were seen and not heard. There's an increasing awareness of the importance of listening to children and to young people both within families and society generally.'

The study, which was commissioned by the scouts to celebrate the start of the organisation's centenary year, claims the image commonly portrayed of teenagers is misleading and is only reflective of a minority.

Ms Williams added, 'The report shows how important it is to really listen to what children and young people are saying and not to believe all the stereotypes that are fed to the public by the media.

'Typically children are portrayed as victims or villains and not as individuals who can and want to contribute positively to the society in which they live.

'It's not in anybody's interest to artificially create an exaggerated impression that adults should be frightened of the young, even though there are an anti social minority. …