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The Teens' Speech


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

How well do you know young people?

Over the last 50 days of The Teens' Speech, we've learned quite a bit about young people in the United Kingdom. Now it's time to check who has been paying attention. Take a deep breath, furrow your brow and dive into our pocket-size teenage Britain quiz. The answers may surprise you. Keep a count of your score and we'll let you know how in tune you really are with the lives of young people. And let us know how you get on in comments.

1. What percentage of pupils overall achieved five GCSEs at grade A*-C?

A. Between 40 and 50%
B. Between 50 and 60%
C. Between 60 and 70%
D. Between 70 and 80%

Click to reveal the answerC - 69.7 per cent of pupils overall achieved five GCSEs at grade A*-C.

2. What percentage of teenagers think their teachers believe in them?

A. Between 40 and 50%
B. Between 50 and 60%
C. Between 60 and 70%
D. Between 70 and 80%

Click to reveal the answerD - 71% of teenagers thought their teachers believed in them

3. What percentage of children aged 14 are being bullied?

A. Between 10 and 20%
B. Between 20 and 30%
C. Between 30 and 40%
D. Between 40 and 50%

Click to reveal the answerD - 47% of 14 year-olds are bullied

4. What percentage of girls aged 11 to 16 would consider cosmetic surgery to make themselves thinner or prettier?

A. Between 10 and 20%
B. Between 20 and 30%
C. Between 30 and 40%
D. Between 40 and 50%

Click to reveal the answerD - 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.

5. 23% of all deaths of young peopled aged 14-24 are due to...

A. Knife crime
B. Traffic accidents
C. Drug taking
D. Suicide

Click to reveal the answerD - 23% of all deaths of young people aged 14-24 are suicides

6. How many children in Britain have families with no savings?

A. Under 1 million
B. Between 1 and 2 million
C. Between 3 and 4 million
D. Between 4 and 5 million

Click to reveal the answerD - 4.9m children have families with absolutely no savings

7. How many British children live in poverty?

A. 1 in 2
B. 1 in 3
C. 1 in 4
D. 1 in 5

Click to reveal the answerB - 1/3 of British children live in poverty

8. What percentage of young offenders are from single-parent families?

A. Between 30 and 40%
B. Between 40 and 50%
C. Between 50 and 60%
D. Between 60 and 70%

Click to reveal the answerD - 70% of young offenders are from lone parent families

9. 1 in 3 children carry...

A. A knife or gun
B. A mobile phone
C. An mp3 player
D. A book

Click to reveal the answerA - One third of children admit to carrying a gun or knife

10. What is the age of criminal responsibility in the U.K.?

A. 10
B. 12
C. 14
D. 16
E. 18

Click to reveal the answerA - The age of criminal responsibility in the UK is 10 years old.

How did you score?

1-3 Click here
You're way out of touch. But it's not too late to take more interest.
Watch The Teens' Speech on Christmas Day.

3-5 Click here
Looks like the youth are a mystery to you. Change it. Watch The Teens'
Speech on Christmas Day.

5-7 Click here
Not bad. You're pretty in touch. We're sure you'll be watching The
Teens' Speech on Christmas Day.

8-10 Click here
You're clearly in touch with young people. Stay that way. Watch The
Teens' Speech on Christmas Day.


Meet Hatti. Since joining YouTube in March 2007, her YouTube channel has enlisted 3,154 subscribers and received nearly 58,000 channel views. She is also supporting The Teens' Speech.

In a short and sweet video clip, Hatti talks with some feeling about the influence the internet has had on her relationships - both friends and family.

For example, the idea of connecting with people online and forming meaningful relationships with them is completely natural to her. In fact, she met her current boyfriend through the medium.

According to research published in October, Hatti is part of a new culture of technology users who are living 'hybrid lives'; communicating and networking in a more advanced way than previous generations. They can't live without the internet - its a place where they feel most comfortable. This is actually borne out by some of the relaxed and open honesty exhibited in the videos posted to our YouTube Teens' Speech channel.

When asked to comment on the research, the Government Advisor on Children and Technology, Professor Tanya Byron, said "...it's essential the adults and organisations that provide support to this age group...offer services that are easily accessible through the internet."

Hatti agrees. In her clip, she says that if she needed advice she would first go to her friends, then Google and as a last resort, her parents.

And speaking of Google, it was Eric Schmidt, its chief executive, who recently put these digital natives into a wider economic context.

When asked what he thought the web would look like in five years, he said, "Talk to a teenager about how they consume media and remember in five years they'll be your employee."

So, it seems that future generations will more technically sophisticated than ever before. I guess it remains to be seen how quickly the rest of us adapt to their needs.

Making something of love

Do you have to be in love to have sex?

In the latest in our series of online polls, we asked visitors to The Teens' Speech MySpace page if they thought love was a precondition to having sex.

Nearly 75% said it wasn't, leaving just over 25% of hardcore romantics who maintained it was.

In a year that has seen teenage pregnancies increase for the first time in seven years, does being in love make us more responsible lovers? Could good old-fashioned romantic love actually be of lasting social benefit?

It's not a new concept - love underpins Christian notions of social justice and love was considered so potent in the hands of John Lennon, he was apparently targetted by both the FBI and CIA.

The age of consent

Meet Rosalie. She's a sixteen year old actress and is featured in the latest Barnardo's advertising campaign. She's also got involved in The Teens' Speech. If you are aged between 13-19 and have something to say about relationships then visit our our YouTube channel or MySpace page and tell us what's on your mind.

What it feels like for a girl

This week on The Teens' Speech, we're talking about relationships. A subject that might initially conjure sweet reminiscences of first kisses and bittersweet pangs of romantic yearning, but upon closer scrutiny, reveals an altogether darker, more complex issue.

Research published in September 2009 revealed a third of teenage girls in a relationship suffer unwanted sexual acts and a quarter physical violence.

And according to a study of 14- to 21-year-olds by the women's rights group Engender, one in three girls and one in two boys thought there were circumstances in which it could be acceptable to hit a woman or force her to have sex.

Professor David Berridge, Professor of Child and Family Welfare at Bristol University, recently commented: "The high rate and harmful impact of violence in teenagers' intimate relationships, especially for girls, is appalling. It was shocking to find that exploitation and violence in relationships starts so young. This is a serious issue that must be given higher priority by policy makers and professionals."

Too right, mate. It definitely needs looking at. But, the unanswered question that overshadows this whole problem is 'why?'.

Why do young boys think that violence is an acceptable means to getting what they want? Who told them it was ok? Perhaps, more pertinently, who told them it wasn't?

A study by the Department for Children, Schools and Families' in 2006 found three-quarters of 11-to- 14-year-olds wished it was easier to talk to their parents about sex. But, more than half of parents (55%) held back from talking about sex, the survey suggests, because of embarrassment about how to start.

Is it really possible that a personal sense of embarrassment in talking about sex is contributing to the suffering of young girls? Do our closest interpersonal relationships really have a direct effect on the overall well-being of the nation?

We can't be expected to take responsibility for the welfare of all children - can we?