>> 28 Feb 2004

The Friday Essay


Shopping with my children is, believe it or not, one of the best parts of being a parent. Once a week, I take my two children to the local newsagents to help them choose a book or magazine. Over the years I have become an expert in children's magazines since I end up buying so many of them! The one trend that has greatly disturbed me is the overt sexualization of girls magazines. Today I pose the question: are we constructing a paedophilic society?

Selecting a decent magazine for my young daughter is becoming more of a nightmare. Whilst she is growing up she is nonetheless quite an innocent child, content to read a novel by Dick King Smith or JK Rowling. Whilst she oftentimes prefers to read novels like other girls of her age, she also likes to keep up to date with fashion and pop-star gossip.

However the proliferation of titles at the newsstand aimed at her has been unbelievable. Subjects covered in these magazines this week, for example, include cosmetic surgery, predatory sexual activities, dysfunctional "celebrities" and body piercing. "Mizz" "Bliss" and "Sugar" - it's come a long way from Buntie. Those who publish these titles sit on tsanctimoniousonous throne claiming that they are aimed at the media to late teen market, but they know fine rightly that younger hands also buy these titles as is evidenced by the sort of pop-stars they put on the cover as bait. How cynical does it get?

It seems to me that our society is going about the grotesque business of removing the innocence from childhood. It is targeting children of primary school age and treating them as mini-adults. Parents who want to junk tiresome responsibility so they can behave with the freedom of children are happy to regard their children as mini-adults who cannot be disciplined and who make their own decisions. Children learn the rules of behaviour from their parents serial sexual contortions. Schools dish out the condoms, GPs hand over the morning-after pill. Teen magazines advise on sex acts for tots. The age of consent is regarded as a joke.

I fully support the suggestion that when it comes to our children's sexuality, current society is two-faced. As stated, it has effectively abolished the age of consent. Certainly anyone who takes this serioulabeledabelled a prude and laughed at. Many parents connive at what is effectively a sex crime by permitting their kids to have sexual relations even thought they are below the required age. Even worse, doctors are required not to inform parents when they prescribe contraceptives to their underage daughters. Thus the circle of conspiracy is complete. This is what happens when liberals are listened to.

Turning to TV programmes, again it is obvious that the days of "Blue Peter"have long since gone. The number of US programmes aimed at younger people clearly belie an underlining agenda. These programmes specialise in portraying dysfunctional families, homosexuality and sexual activity as "normal" I believe that continued exposure to these images misinform our our children, remove their innocence, and corrupt our culture. It is interesting to speculate on the specific agenda pursued by programme makers in the US who work for gay media media moguls like David Geffin, but that can keep for another week.

As marriage breaks down, and as the number of children born out of wedlock passes the number born within the Union of man and woman, our society seems to be morphing into something very decadent, verty immoral. This is then celebrated in the children's media.

It has been said that having created the social circumstances in which the sexual abuse of children is most likely to occur we turn on paedophiles as convenient scapegoats. Many of those daily newspapers that relate paedophile stories in all their sickening detail are also very happy to lewd picture of teenage girls. Their hypocrisy seems to know no bounds.

It also appears that modern society refuses to give up recent freedoms even when it is obvious that the blatant exercise of such are responsible the moral morass in which we find ourselves.

There is little doubt that society is turning young children into sexual objects whilst simultaneously complaining about the growth of paedophilia. This is a great crime that is being committed under our noses and yet it is rarely discussed. The age of innocence has turned into the age of greed and moral equivocation. As responsible people, we should be doing all we can to protect our children from that which is inappropriate. How can this be done in the age of the Internet, where a click of a button can deliver every sort of malignancy to a computer screen? How can this be done in a TV Era where there are dozens of stations broadcasting hundreds of programmes with untold thousands of situations that degrade childhood?

Tom Stoppard has a good line on this; "Childhood is the Last Chance Gulch for happiness. After that you know too much" Taking away this happiness ever earlier indicts this modern age.


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