Hello and welcome to The Teens' Speech blog. A place dedicated to discussing issues of significance to young people in particular and the nation as a whole.
The Teens' Speech


On Christmas Day this year, teenage Britain delivered its own message to the nation. Find out more

Teen Nip Tuck

Nearly 50% fof teenage girls going to secondary school would consider laser treatment, liposuction or another form of cosmetic surgery to change the way they look.

The study, commissioned by The Girl Guides Association, found that 46% of girls aged 11 to 16, and 50% of girls aged 16 to 21 would consider cosmetic surgery to make themselves thinner or prettier.

Critics (thankyou,Daily Mail) have blamed the popularity of cosmetic surgery operations among celebrities and television shows such as 10 Years Younger and The Swan for making often risky surgical procedures appear as simple as a trip to the butchers. But, clearly there are deeper issues at work other than the desire to look like Jordan or Victoria Beckham. At the heart of this lie feelings of alienation, stress and low self-esteem.

For instance, the number of teenage girls considering plastic surgery increases among under-16s who are under-performing at school. 81% of girls whose school performance was rated as satisfactory or poor said that they would have invasive surgery to improve their appearance.

It all feels like a new spin on something very old - the ceaseless and unending pressure on women to conform to contemporary and fleeting notions of beauty. And it's always the most vulnerable who feel it the most.

Ain't nothing going on but the 'rents

If we're wondering why the next generation appear to be turning to drink and drugs to alleviate stress and depression, we need to be looking a little closer to home than Lily Allen. Try Mum and Dad.

British teenagers are more likely to binge drink, take drugs regularly, be stressed, depressed and have unprotected, underage sex. But do we know why?

Research published by The Girl Guides Association last week revealed that a third of girls aged 11 to 16 and 58 per cent of 16-21 year olds admit to drinking so much that they have been sick or lost control.

The authors went on to suggest that young celebrities, such as the singers Lily Allen and Sarah Harding, have helped create a culture of underage drinking for teenage girls.

But, is this really the case, or is it an example of convenient scapegoating?

How can we foist the blame for a nation of young boozers on the shoulders of a young, creative and independent woman like Lily Allen? Surely, the real cause of teenage drinking and drug taking - by boys and girls - lies in the more fundamental relationship between parent and child?

The reality is that it's not just teenagers who have a problem with drink and drugs. We all do.

This country has a love affair with alcohol that doesn't appear to be ending any time soon – two thirds of adults drink at least once a week and the government estimates that 10 million people exceed daily limit guidelines.

And lets not forget that 99.9% of the two billion notes currently in circulation have come into contact with cocaine.

In a report published last month, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said children learn bad drinking habits from their parents. It went on to say that the most effective method of stopping young people from binge drinking was for family members to show them how to drink responsibly.

If we want our young people to stop partaking in drink and drugs , maybe we have to start partaking a little more responsibly ourselves.