More Chinese Teenagers Trying Cigarettes, Alcohol, Sex: Survey

Xinhua, 3 December 2001

LANZHOU, December 3 (Xinhua)—A recent survey shows many teenagers in north China's Gansu province are experimenting with alcohol and cigarettes, and some high school kids are having sex.

Northwestern Normal University carried out the survey among four primary and secondary schools in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu. Statistics indicate 15 to 70 percent of students have smoked cigarettes or have drunk wine.

Some 10 percent female students at one secondary school have had sex with their boyfriends, according to the survey.

However, Normal University professor Peng Dehua said parents should not be alarmed by such activity, as teenagers imitating adult behaviors shows their wish to become mature and be recognized as individuals. But this wish needs proper guidance.

Children between the ages of eight and 18 are likely to experience psychological problems. If they aren't properly guided, tragedies may occur, Peng said.

A local newspaper recently reported the suicide of a high school girl who was despondent after her parents severely scolded her for having a boyfriend met on the Internet.

Peng suggested schools set up students' psychological health records and offer guidance counseling. Students need to be told that being an adult doesn't only mean freedom, it also means more responsibilities, he said.