As a society, we often talk about how it comes back to parenting, but that does little to answer the needs of these teens who have had poor or even terrible parenting.
On one hand you're right, zooby, the throwaway "caveman" line is not very accurate, though I wouldn't characterize any of the indigenous populations as cavemen, or even close to the depiction of early man. (Mind you, even the word caveman has been called inaccurate - when did we live in caves? lol)
It makes me wonder at times too, with our economy doing so well. But it's more a feature of outer suburb, middle to low socioeconomic pop's. That and the idea that drinking has become more than just regular weekend sport for some. (Perhaps we should up the drinking age from 18 to 21 like in the US.)
Not weird at all.. and I would agree, at least from what I have seen here in Australia.
I agree, competition is good as a learning device, though it only works with some. With the kids I deal with, any competition tends to polarize the group, with the sporting types usually taking to the challenge and the rest feeling defeated just at the mention of such a thing. There can be ways to introduce it so that it doesn't look like competition and gives some a little boost, and then there are those who disconnect at the slightest idea of anything involving participation.
One of the things I learned when I studied teaching, was "learning styles" and how each person engages differently. (VAK - Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, at its most basic) That's an avenue I'm trying to do more with.