The naughty boy of Europe. PAU 2003

>Exámenes selectividad inglés Cataluña resueltos

The naughty boy of Europe
If generalizations were not so dangerous, we could say that there is something delinquent about British youth. According to statistics, British teenagers are worse behaved than others in Europe. They take drugs more often than others and only Danish teenagers drink as much alcohol. More teenage girls in Britain are more likely to get pregnant than any others in Western Europe. And so on. Some people think that teenagers in Britain have been a problem for a long time. But the truth is that it was not always like that. In the past decade, school exclusions among teenagers have rocketed1. The proportion of 14-17-year-old boys breaking the law rose by 14% between 1993 and 1999; girls are increasingly participating in violent crime. And the suicide rate among British males aged 15-24 has doubled over 30 years.
Some of these problems can be solved by simply thinking about them in a more rational way. Under-age drinking and cannabis smoking, for instance, are generally harmless, even if they are illegal. Teenage pregnancy statistics are not really so alarming: more British teenagers got pregnant 30 years ago. The only difference is that then they tended to be (or get) married, so they were not a burden2 to the taxpayer. The problem that is definitely expensive is delinquency because it tends to anticipate similar problems in later life.
Some people say there are two major causes that explain all these problems among teenagers. One explanation is economic and the other is familial. The decline of British industry has meant that poorly educated men, in particular, have fewer job opportunities. So more children grow up in families where parents are unemployed. The weakness of this explanation is that many of the problems in teenagers affect the entire social scale, not just the poorer families. The other explanation emphasizes the growth of divorce and the long hours that British parents are at work away from home.
Because familial instability and poverty often accompany each other, it is difficult to say which one has a greater influence on teenagers’ behaviour. But one way in which the government can make a difference is to keep more children in school: fewer children continue studying after the age of 16 than in most comparable countries, and more teenagers leave school before they finish secondary education than in most other EU countries.
There is, however, a less pessimistic explanation of these problems among teenagers. Even if it is true that a minority of young people are getting too little education, most of them are getting more education than their parents did. This prolongation of education may be causing an unwanted side effect3 because teenagers get their first job later in life. This means that adolescence persists longer and the assumption of adult responsibilities takes place later in life than it previously did. During this prolonged adolescence, British teenagers tend to get less support from their families than adolescents in other countries and this may be the real cause of most of their problems. Britain’s unruly4 teenagers are probably the price of progress.
(From the press. Adapted)
1 to rocket: ascendir fortament / subir vertiginosamente
2 a burden: càrrega / carga
3 side effect: efecte secundari / efecto secundario
4 unruly: incontrolable, desobedient / incontrolable, desobediente


Answer the following questions according to the information in the text The naughty boy of Europe.
1. For some people, unemployment is one of the main causes of problems among teenagers but the author of the article is not so sure. Why?

2. According to the author, what should be done to fight against delinquency and other problems among teenagers? 
3. Why is teenagers’ problematic behaviour in Britain considered ‘the price of progress’?

4. The author believes that one of these problems is more serious than the others. Which one?

5. One of these sentences is true. Which one?


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