New Year's Eve is coming and the discussion on fireworks starts again. Nuisance, damage and accidents are the topics of conversation. Why do youngsters show such high-risk behaviour while setting off fireworks, and is a ban or age restriction meaningful?
Behavioural scientist Margot Peeters researches high-risk behaviour among youngsters. “A ban could be influential, but would not solve the problem all at once.”
You would think that the danger of playing with fireworks is clear, but we still see youngsters take high risks every year. Why are they actually doing that?
“It's often boys who do this. Over 75 % of the victims of last New Year's Night were male. That can very well have something to do with status in a group, boys are far more oriented on mutual competition from an evolutionary perspective. In order to gain status in a group, they often act tough in the presence of other youngsters. Girls are less active in that field, they are more focused on relationships.”