“It is notable — and worrying — that young people’s presence in public places, regardless of their behaviour, was considered to be an ASB by four in ten adults,” said Hulley. “The information that adults have about young people, for example from their negative portrayal in the media, often defines them in terms of the threat that they allegedly pose to adults.”
In making a direct comparison between younger teenagers’ perceptions about particular (so-called) anti-social behaviours with those of adults — as both groups completed the same questionnaire — the research was the first of its kind, and could offer valuable pointers to policy-makers looking to foster more cohesive communities during a time when the generation gap appears to be widening, says the study’s author.
“In the context of increasing distances between generations, between ‘them’ and ‘us’, efforts should be focused on improving social connectedness by bringing adults and young people together so that adults can get a better understanding of young people and their behaviour,” said Hulley.
Just maybe, something similar happens with babies and little kids in public space. I say this because whenever the topic of babies in public space comes up you see a lot of very angry personal stories from people about how terribly disruptive little ones are in public and how completely rude and indifferent to this disruption their mothers are. This surprises me because I hang out quite a bit with mothers and babies and I don’t see a whole lot of this stuff happening. You would think I would be seeing some of this epidemic of bad behaviour. But what I see is the occasional rude parent just as I see the occasional rude elderly person, or the occasional rude teenager, or the occasional rude twenty-something person. I don’t see an over-representation of mothers with babies and small children in my experiences of rudeness in public. Maybe there’s a bit of confirmation bias going on, just maybe. And maybe that bias has its roots in misogyny..