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10 Boys VS 10 Girls Were Left Unsupervised In A House For 5 Days & The Results Were Wildly Different

Photo: Artem Podrez / Pexels
boys and girls smiling during social experiment

What would happen if 10 children were left unsupervised in a house for five days? Would they react the same or differently? Thanks to a certain social experiment in the United Kingdom, we may have the answers. 

In 2002, Channel 4 released a docuseries titled 'Boys And Girls Alone.' The social experiment monitored 10 boys and 10 girls alone in a house and tracked their behavior and interactions. The purpose of the documentary was to keep track of kids as they were left unsupervised in a home over the course of five days.

The first installment of the social experiment, "Boys Alone," followed 10 boys, ages 11-12. 

The boys were sent off to a home that was fully stocked with food and contained a variety of toys, games, books, and paint to keep the children entertained. 

A camera crew was present to film in the house during the day but did not engage or intervene with the boys unless there were safety concerns. The cameras were installed in each of the bedrooms to monitor the boys during the night. There were two bedrooms in the home, one larger room that constrained six beds, and a smaller room that contained four. A bell was placed in the home so the boys could ring it anytime they needed help. They could speak to the production team, a nurse, their parents, or a child psychiatrist whom they had all met beforehand. They were given the option to leave the home at any point in time. 

Before entering the home, none of the boys had ever met. 

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Chaos ensued the moment the boys walked through the front door. 

They started by painting the walls, throwing food on the floor, and squirting each other with water guns. Most of the boys continued to behave in this manner before the third day when a few of them attempted to clean the paint off the walls. Despite all of them taking a cooking class the week before living in the home, none of the boys appeared to utilize their skills. Instead, they mostly snacked on sugar and cereal for meals. The closest any of them came to cooking was throwing a frozen pizza in the oven. 

The boys had also divided themselves into two groups, one of them being noisy and the other laying low and being quieter. They often whacked each other with various objects for fun. Michael, one of the boys in the group exhibiting what others deemed as strange behavior, became a target of the other boys. 

By the time the fifth day rolled around, the house was trashed, with food, toys, and chairs strewn about and nearly none of the food being used to cook with. 

After the success of “Boys Alone,” the channel decided to launch a second documentary with the exact same concept — except this time with 10 girls instead of boys. 

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The second installment of the social experiment titled 'Girls Alone' proved that girls had a much different approach to cooking, cleaning, and interacting. 

The girls, who were in the same age range as the boys, displayed different behaviors and methods of organization. On the first day, one girl took charge of the cooking and cleaning and prepared a meal for the rest of the home. 

Unlike the boys, the girls all gathered at the kitchen table and ate their first meal together. After the meal was over, some of the girls decided to organize a fashion show and bake cakes to entertain themselves. 

After the activities, one of the girls began cleaning and organizing the home, and the others joined in. Soon, they came together and constructed a cooking and cleaning chart to split responsibilities amongst themselves. 

The girls would sometimes bicker with one another but often reconciled by comforting and assuring each other. Two of them would up leaving the house early. They organized the house a bit shortly before leaving. 

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The social experiment sparked conversations regarding gender roles and how women are often overlooked for leadership roles. 

Though the series was somewhat controversial when it was originally released, clips recently shared online sparked a widespread conversation. People were quick to point out that the girls were organized and worked together to achieve clear decisions while the boys wreaked havoc even though both groups had the same resources. 

“So ALL of them took a cooking course? And only one group cooked? Only one group cleaned? Only one group organized meetings? Only one group delegated tasks? And that’s the group that would make terrible leaders because they’re “too much drama and too emotional????” Twitter user @aguavrgo noted. 

“The girls were even making CHORE CHARTS!! Using words of affirmation. Cleaning up after themselves. And I noticed a couple of them showered before bed! Their hair was all wet. Like wow. I’m so proud,” Twitter user @Thee_bombshell added. 

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Some blamed the boys’ behavior on societal roles imposed on them. 

“That's how boys are raised. To be useless about taking care of others. They do not care for others. This is a woman thing. So this dysfunction is society's fault and how men want to be perceived,” another Twitter user mentioned. 

While the girls had their imperfections and moments of bickering, they often came together to work out a rational solution and did not spilt into two different groups as the boys did. 

So what did this social experiment accomplish? For one, it taught us that all of us, regardless of gender, should practice empathy, understanding, and organization in order to run a functional society. With these qualities instilled, anyone, boy or girl, has the capacity and ability to be an effective leader. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.