These days, there’s constant contact via SMS, Facebook, Twitter, and instant messaging.

Parents have little, if any, ability to monitor the conversation.

“Alcohol [consumption] has gone up over time, too, and it’s intimately connected to their sexual behaviour.” Rates of sexually transmitted diseases are rising, especially in the 15-19 age group; in 2008, slightly more than 25 per cent of all chlamydia infections were in the 15- to 19-year-old age group, and girls were diagnosed at three times the rate of boys.

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Police presence had been boosted across Austria, including in Innsbruck, for the end-of-year festivities in the wake of a terror attack in neighbouring Germany in early December.

Few things are certain in adolescence, but there’s one thing upon which teenage girls agree; pubic hair is out. They are learning from the 21st century’s version of sex education class, the internet; a more enlightening and forthcoming source than nervous parents and teachers.

“We’ve not had anything like this happen here before,” Kranebitter told AFP.

“They were dancing around the victims and then suddenly grabbed their breast or stuck their hands between their legs.

Children with ‘precocious pubescence’ can start menstruating at five or six.

Reasons range from better nutrition and obesity to the break-down of the family unit.“When dads aren’t around, they’re more likely to move into puberty earlier,” says parenting expert Michael Grose.

“My generation went behind the shed and had a smoke.

It’s been put to me that oral sex at school is like smoking.

“I had a 16th birthday party and apparently two people were doing it on my front lawn.”Technology has also changed the sexual landscape.