« The family is a driving force in the resolution of addiction problems » Jean-Michel Delile (psychiatrist, family therapist and ethnologist, specialist in addiction-related issues)
Our teens: bigger consumers of drugs than previous generations?
We commonly hear it mentioned that today’s youth is more depraved than previous generations: 31% of you think so. Essential point: 53% of you think that young people are, above all, more exposed to social pressure than in the past.
Drugs: ineffective prevention?
When asked about the effectiveness of youth drug prevention campaigns, your reponse is clear: only 3% of you think that they are truly effective.
Cannabis: Prohibition, legalisation?
You’re unanimous: legalising cannabis is out of the question! 64% of you voted against it. This is an opinion shared by our psychiatrist: « I’m against it because it risks increasing the level of consumption, but particularly because it favours usage from an earlier age.” On the issue of penalising people, however, our expert finds « excessive, the fact that you could end up in prison for simply using it. It would be more effective to direct these people towards compulsory treatment, rather than incarcerating them. »
The headline from a recent article in the Nouvel Observateur read: « Where have the little girls gone? ». It seems that the transition to adolescence is occurring at a younger and younger age. It’s a trend that worries child psychiatrists who are convinced of the importance of the Freudian « latency stage », the protected haven that constitutes childhood.
Biologically, young girls are becoming women quicker than in the past: although the age of getting their first period hasn’t changed much for half a century (12.5 years on average), mammary glands are appearing earlier. Between 10% and 25% of young girls show signs of puberty from the age of 7 onwards, which was extremely rare a few decades ago.
The cause? A diet that’s more varied and richer than a century ago: little girls have all the nutrients necessary to grow up fast and excess weight which is more and more common) favours a high level of oestrogen, the hormone responsible for puberty. Pesticides and other chemical elements are also accused of accelerating the puberty process.
For the launch of its new format, the magazine Julie, which is dedicated to 8-13 year-old girls, wanted to get to know its readers better by launching l’Observatoire des petites filles (Questionnaire for young girls). More than 400 girls completed the questionnaire which appeared in the January 2011 issue.
The main findings from this survey? Preadolescence, which didn’t exist ten or so years ago, has become a life stage in its own right, with its specific codes and concerns. Young girls aged between 8 and 13 no longer consider themselves to be children: they are in transition with adolescence, whose codes they imitate (groups of friends, boyfriends, make-up, social networks on the Internet, etc.). But they remain little girls, as shown by their attachment to school (78%), to their mum (93%) and to young American actresses Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.
Abercrombie and Fitch has once again created buzz around its products—this time, though, it has caused a stir with its audience. In April, the clothing chain began selling padded bikinis at their children’s stores which are aimed for 8 to 14-year-olds. This has sparked controversy among parents and the media who are concerned with the over-sexualization of youth today. The brand has attempted to relabel the bathing suits as bras for 12-14 year olds, but the negative buzz has already made the rounds and has spread all around the internet. We are thus left wondering: great publicity stunt or terrible marketing idea?