England (Hiccup!), En-guh-lund!

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PINT-SIZED PRINCE Charles

Earlier we linked to a story about how Madonna‘s Malawian adoption might impact England’s orphans. What went unremarked upon was how desperate England’s teens are for authority figures, even the ones who happen to have parents.

Last week the Mirror reported on a study by the Institute for Public Policy Research revealing that Britain’s youth are “on the verge of mental breakdown.”

The IPPR study, entitled Freedom’s Orphans, claims rates of youthful binge-drinking and sex are on the rise, while meals shared with their families are declining. The Scotsman picks up the story and talks to some parents like Shona Dunn, who says:

My children never eat in front of the television. We have no TV in the kitchen and we all say ‘no telly on’. I just think it’s nice for everybody to sit and talk about what happened over the course of the day, be it good or bad … It’s not good for children to be sitting with a tray on their knees in front of the telly; they watch enough as it is. I think it’s good to prise them away from that and have them sitting them around the table.

We have no idea what that means, but if these meals are anything like those described in this New York Times Rotherham Journal from last month—chip butty (“a french-fries-and-butter sandwich doused in vinegar”), anyone?—they may be better off eating dinner on a treadmill at the gym.

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