HEALTHY LIVING
04/05/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Britain's Mean Teens

Staying home in the face of danger isn't the British way. After suicide bombings in July 2005, Londoners continued working and socializing. Yet a survey by kids' charity TS Rebel found that last year more than a fifth of Britons avoided going out at night rather than risk encounters with a different form of terror: groups of children. Britons are frightened of their own young.

On any given Saturday night, in any town center across Britain, it's easy to see why. "It usually starts outside McDonald's -- that's the hot spot," explains one London youth. "You might go with one mate, then you get a phone call. Give it an hour, there'll be 10 people there, with nothing to do. Intimidating people is something to do, a way of getting kicks. Like, 'Oh my God, did you see how they ran?' "

Jason Steen isn't an obvious target for muggers. The 40-year-old heads his own company advising on mergers and acquisitions, and usually strides through life like a Master of the Universe. This evening, though, he looks shaken. Two days earlier, he was accosted outside his central London home by eight kids -- the youngest was 11 -- who punched him to the ground, hustled him to the nearest cash machine and forced him to reveal his PIN number. After a series of attacks in the area, local residents have gathered in Steen's apartment to talk to the policeman handling the case. His advice: "Don't go out unless you have to."

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