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Naughty, bitchy girls

Booze, drugs, sex. Girls have overtaken the "only for men" items.

tabloid Updated: May 19, 2006 18:06 IST

Gone are the days when drink, drugs and sex were considered as "only for men" items, for a recent research has revealed that girls have overtaken boys, even for bad behaviour.

The research conducted by Bournemouth University's Institute of Health and Community Studies shows that while nearly 33 per cent of girls in year 11 have experienced their first sexual encounter, only 17 per cent of boys have admitted experiencing it.

"Twenty years ago boys drugged, drank, smoked, truanted, stole, vandalised and fought more than girls. Today, it is very different. Girls now significantly smoke and binge-drink more than boys," the Daily Mail quoted the University's Professor Colin Pritchard, as saying.

"They truant, steal and fight at similar rates to boys but have started under-aged sex earlier than boys with 17 per cent of lads in Year 11 having their First-Sexual-Intercourse (FSI) whereas 31 per cent of Year 11 girls have had their FSI, indicating they are going with older boys," Pritchard added.

The findings also suggest that children of smoking parents are more likely to get involved in anti-social behaviour such as fighting, binge drinking and unprotected sex. And while the chances of them taking drugs and/or binge drink increases by two-and-a-half times, they are four times more likely to have unprotected sex than children of parents who do not smoke.

"What we're saying through this work is that we have to reach out to parents and show how the cycle of educational and societal alienation must and can be broken to enable parents and schools to work together to contribute to children's educational, social and emotional well-being," said Prof Pritchard.

The study also had a good news, as it disclosed that the much-maligned youth of today are actually better behaved than their parents were 20 years ago.

"The good news and, perhaps, unexpected is that the 2005 youngsters have less problematic behaviour than the 1985 cohort and even with the problematic behaviour, drugs, drink and sex, this is still a minority activity," added Prof Pritchard.

The questionnaire was sent out to 10 schools along the south coast with 824 pupils aged 14 to 15 completing it in 1985 and 854 pupils of the same age completing it in 2005.