14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Are We Too Tough On Teenagers?

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Swearing, skateboarding and hanging out with friends: antisocial behaviour or are we too tough on teens?

Teenagers who complain they can't do anything right may have a point, as 40 per cent of adults consider teenagers meeting up friends in public equates to anti social behaviour.

The types of behaviour we deem to be anti social change as we get older, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.

The research also found that adults are predisposed to interpret teenagers' actions as anti social, even when the teenagers believe they are doing nothing wrong.

More than 80 per cent of the adults questioned think swearing in public is anti social behaviour, compared with less than 43 per cent of young people. And more than 60 per cent of adults also considered cycling or skateboarding on the street to be anti social, compared with less than eight per cent of teens.

"It is notable - and worrying - that young people's presence in public places, regardless of their behaviour, was considered to be an ASB [antisocial behaviour] by four in 10 adults," said lead researcher Dr Susie Hulley.

The study used a questionnaire to compare the views of 185 teenagers (aged 11-15) at a secondary school in London with those of more than 200 adults who lived in the surrounding area.

Their answers also revealed that the age of the perceived 'perpetrators' and the 'victims' affected people's views of different behaviours.

For instance, a group of young people blocking the pavement were more likely to be said to be behaving anti-socially than a group of middle aged women with pushchairs who were also blocking the pavement.

"My research confirms that young people are particularly likely to be labelled perpetrators of ASB - especially by adult observers - and are less likely to be recognised as victims of ASB," concludes Susie.

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