Thought this a very good observation/explanation re the surge in anti-social behaviour in UK and Oz for anyone interested or concerned about this sort of thing. The Lord of the Flies Syndrome appears to be the process of children developing without sufficient contact or guidance from adults. 8O From the Oz paper Weekend Australian Britain's Lord of the Flies generation Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent November 04, 2006 BRITISH teenagers are the worst-behaved in Europe and young Australians share many of their anti-social characteristics, according to a major study of youth behaviour. On every indicator of problem behaviour ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to crime, sexual disease and self-harm, young Britons are at or near the bottom of the European table, according to analysis by one of Britain's most influential think tanks, the Institute for Public Policy Research. Julia Margo, a research fellow at the centre-left institute, said the study of dozens of research projects on teenage behaviour had been mainly focused on British teens but it had also found that Australian youths "were not that different" to teenagers in Britain, where politicians and community leaders have become increasingly worried about the rise of antisocial behaviour among the young. "Australians crop up a lot at the bottom end of the spectrum of youth behaviour and the similarities with Britain are probably because there are a lot of cultural and social similarities," she said. In both countries there was not enough interaction between adults and teenagers, so teenagers were left to learn their social skills from each other, a child-raising system that had more in common with William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies than with a properly functioning society, Ms Margo said. The research showed that British teens were the least likely in Europe to share meals with their parents and the most likely to spend a lot of time hanging out with friends. Without the strong focus on family and church that is found in southern Europe, or the Scandinavian preference for a large welfare state and a strong sense of civic duty, British teenagers spent less time with adults. The Conservative Party said yesterday the problems in British youth culture had reached the point where non-custodial penalties called anti-social behaviour orders - or "asbos" - which are imposed for vandalism and other low-level crime, had become a badge of honour for many teenagers. Asbos were introduced by the Blair Government in 1999 to battle what much of the British public sees as an epidemic of public disorder, often involving "hoodies" - youths wearing hooded jackets. A group of 16-year-olds on the Highgrove public housing estate in north London agreed yesterday that youth behaviour in Britain was deteriorating and that many teenagers saw an asbo as something of a status symbol. Even while Marcus, the most articulate member of the group, insisted to The Weekend Australian that "an asbo is nothing to be proud of", his friend Andrew kept interrupting to boast that he had had one of the social orders imposed on him and he was breaching it by visiting the estate. While Andrew proudly prattled on in gangsta slang resembling the diction of comedy character Ali G, his friends said the IPPR's conclusions about the parlous state of British youth culture seemed right to them. "People get stabbed every day and it is people our age who get stabbed," said Marcus, who was standing about 5m from where a young man was stabbed to death a month ago. "You don't hear about it happening that much in other countries. It (the problem) is not about drugs and unemployment, it's about gangs and people hanging together to feel safe." Youth unemployment and child poverty are commonly blamed as causes of problem behaviour, but both have fallen dramatically in Britain under the Blair Government. According to Ms Margo, those improvements have been outweighed by an increasing gap in social skills between those youths who spend a lot of time with adults or in structured sport and leisure activities, and youths who spend their free time hanging about with friends. "In a less regulated, more service-oriented economy, social skills end up being more important than ever, so if you come from a family background that has already taught you how to interact with people you will get great opportunities, but society as a whole has gotten worse at giving people those skills so it is getting worse for kids who are disadvantaged in that way," she said. "That means we should be supporting the family types that need help the most, like single parents." Ms Margo said adults in Britain and Australia tended to have a "pub and bar" culture that meant spending much of their leisure time with other adults, whereas countries such as France, Italy and Spain found it more comfortable to have different age groups socialising together -- at least in the same areas. "Our solution is just to build youth centres where teenagers can hang around with each other doing nothing and learning their social norms in a Lord of the Flies syndrome," she said. The research found that only 34 per cent of Britons said they would intervene if they saw a group of 14-year-olds vandalising a bus stop, compared with 65 per cent of Germans, 52 per cent of Spanish and 50 per cent of Italians.