Dishonest Prime Minister David Cameron, together no doubt with a few other notable, vote seeking, weak politicians are about to make total fools of themselves in an attempt to “preserve the innocence of childhood”. Cameron is attempting to cash in on parents’ alleged worries that children are ‘growing up too soon’.
More specifically, Mr. Cameron has stated that, “Some businesses are dumping a waste that is toxic on our children. Products and marketing that can warp their minds and their bodies and harm their future.
‘That can take away their innocence, which I know most parents would agree is so precious and worth defending. Children are being pushed into grown-up territory well before their time.”
In a move that seems to echo the failed policies of the American government in recent years, Cameron believes that he can turn back the tide of natural evolution and like all populist politicians believes that it is necessary to do so in order to pander to his critics.
TheOpinionSite.org together with many others believe that Mr. Cameron and those who support the view that children should be kept as children for as long as possible are totally wrong. The reason that we say they are wrong is best illustrated by wandering down to your local town centre on a Friday night, especially if you have a large population of students in your town, where you will be able to see those who are legally classified as adults behaving like primary school children.
This lack of adult behaviour is not something for which these young people can themselves be blamed. The blame lies firmly and completely with successive governments, child protection lobbyists and profit-seeking tabloid newspapers who know full well that the only way they can maintain people’s interest in their cause is to make sure that parents remain parents for as long as possible.
What the above groups forget – or choose to ignore – is that children are not there to please or entertain their parents and they are not best helped by keeping them in little protective boxes and bringing them out only on special occasions in order to impress the neighbours.
Nor are children best served by a society which artificially keeps them younger than they should be for the convenience and justification of parenthood.
Politicians, are only too aware of the fact that most people who vote in general elections tend to be parents who are concerned about their children. Equally, it is an equally true statement to say that child protection issues are only of major interest to the general public if they happen to be parents. From a newspaper marketing point of view it is also worth noting that 80% of tabloid newspapers are read by adults who live in a family environment that contains children.
You can see from the above that without children – and without keeping them as children for as long as possible – all these markets would be affected in a negative way, particularly the field of politics as politicians spend most of their time in the House of Commons generating more and more legislation that affects families with children more than anyone else.
In an unbelievably stupid act of political idiocy, David Cameron commissioned a report into the premature sexualisation and commercialisation for children to be carried out not by recognised and well qualified social scientists – which may have made some sense – but by the Mothers Union, an organisation that is not widely recognised for either its progressive, realistic or liberal views.
Cameron’s action is also rightly described by some as being stupid because in purely political terms, it now appears that family policy is no longer being decided by MPs debating issues in Parliament but will instead be drawn up by an organisation that is best left to bake cakes and hold tea parties and jumble sales.
The review in question was carried out by Reg Bailey, the head of the Mothers’ Union, and the findings are due to be published on Monday, although they have been widely leaked already. Bailey describes the perceived plethora of explicit adverts, videos and television programmes as a “wallpaper of sexual images that surround children”; the sort of comment one might expect from a man in his position I suppose.
The review, into the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, also calls for age-ratings on music videos together with more advert controls and says this should keep advertising with sexual imagery away from schools and playgrounds. Great; what about the bus shelters, railway stations and shopping arcades, not to mention WH Smith and other well known outlets?
According to the author of the review, together with most of those who profit from selling child protection and the “protection of innocence” to the rest of us, the “majority” of parents support the proposed restrictions as laid out in Mr. Bailey’s report.
However, TheOpinionSite.org needs to point out that this statement cannot possibly be true as only 1,025 parents of children between the ages of five and 16 years old were surveyed. That is the smallest recognised sample possible.
The claim that the moves are supported by most parents are made as a result of extrapolating data that doesn’t really exist from what is the smallest possible sample. If Mr. Bailey had surveyed 100,000 parents, one might take his review more seriously but he did not. What is more, if you ask the right question, you will probably get the answer you want.
The reason that students and other young people classified as adults behave like children on a Friday night is precisely because they have never been allowed to grow up.
Unlike children of the 1950s and 60s who rightly were not necessarily the centre of family life, parents nowadays feel guilty if they do not put their children at the centre of everything and run around after them like slaves. Currently, most parents willingly and often unknowingly sacrifice their own independence of thought and action for the sake of falling in line with the idea that children must be mollycoddled and protected at all times, in all places and in all ways.
The end result is that kids never learn to solve problems, deal with risk or face real life. The tragedy is that it is the parents who are really to blame for swallowing all the rubbish put out by the cheap media and child ‘experts’ most of which is blindly supported by the government.
The policies advocated by Bailey’s review might in the past have been appropriate for children up to the age of about 12 or 13 but for those policies to work today, you would have to have children who are the same as children were back in the 1950s and 1960s.
To put it bluntly in order that Messrs Cameron and Bailey can understand it, children of the 21st century are not the same as children were halfway through the 20th. They have evolved, quite naturally.
Neither parents nor politicians may like the fact that children naturally grow up younger and start thinking in adult ways at an earlier age nowadays but that does not alter the fact that nature, let alone any other influencing factor, has dictated otherwise.
In many children, the onset of puberty occurs at a much earlier age than it used to and whether you hide television programmes, billboards, magazines or anything else away from children in the 21st century, the one thing that politicians cannot change is nature. If natural evolution dictates that children will have adult thoughts and adult urges at say 11 or 12 years old rather than 16 or 17 years old, you will not be able to overcome it.
As for the Anglo-American pseudo moralistic arguments put forward to justify the so called “protection of innocence”, Darwin pointed out in his ‘Origin of the Species’ that “nature has no morals.”
When King Canute tried to hold back the sea, he did not realise what a fool he was being until he ended up being drowned. The same applies to Cameron and all those who would try to turn this country into the alleged puritan state that people believe it once was, though it is unlikely in actual fact that such a state ever really existed.
America has tried to do what Mr. Cameron is proposing and has failed miserably. Mary Whitehouse tried the same thing years ago. All the Americans have managed to do is to lock up an ever increasing number of children for ever longer periods of time for what is loosely classed as “deviant behaviour”. Mary Whitehouse was widely ridiculed.
The hopelessly failed American model is definitely not the one to emulate. There are more children held in custody in America than in any other Western country and TheOpinionSite.org does not believe that this is an example that the UK should follow.
Instead, Cameron should look towards Europe and in particular try to establish why countries such as Holland and France do not seem to have the same problems regarding the apparent sexualisation of children that are alleged to be prevalent here in the UK.
Nor should Cameron rely on the likes of the Mothers Union to come up with ridiculous, outmoded policies and suggestions that do not take account of modern living, the progress in technological developments or the fact that children have changed. It may be that none of these things fit in with their puritanical, limited paradigm of society but they cannot be ignored or reversed either.
When speaking of the perceived sexualisation and commercialisation of children, Cameron says, “That can take away their innocence, which I know most parents would agree is so precious and worth defending. Children are being pushed into grown-up territory well before their time.”
What he should have said was that children are being pushed into grown-up territory before what is a politically acceptable time; that is, an age that is acceptable to the Daily Mail and all those who make their living out of wrapping children in cotton wool and doing their damnedest to deny them the natural privilige of growing up.
The good news for the Prime Minister is that he may not actually have to worry about this contentious issue for much longer .
He has given the industry 18 months to put things right before legislation is considered but to be frank, as Mr. Cameron insists on making a fool of himself by caving in to populism at every available opportunity, it may well be that he isn’t even Prime Minister in 18 months time in which case, the matter will not be his problem. We can only hope.