Throughout the ages, parents have fretted about how much control they should be exercising over the whereabouts of their teenage children. This issue has become particularly relevant in contemporary Britain, against the backdrop of the riots of 2011, with ‘poor parenting’ being blamed in some quarters for the disturbances, and with pronouncements by Parliament and regional police forces that parents should make sure they ‘know where their children are’ at night.
This article uses data from the youth questionnaire of Understanding Society, which asks children aged ten to 15 how frequently they have stayed out past 9pm without their parents knowing their whereabouts, over the past month. We also explore whether this is a ‘bad thing’, and examine whether there are differences between boys and girls, or between different age groups. In what follows, we sometimes abbreviate ‘staying out past 9pm without your parents knowing where you are’ as ‘staying out late’ but all the analysis relates...
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