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UK Gov't Report Recognizes That 'Protecting The Children' Can 'Hurt The Children'

from the protecting-the-children? dept

Politicians absolutely love to come out with laws saying that they're "protecting the children" as it plays well during election time. The problem, though, is that many of these laws do exactly the opposite. What they end up doing is actually preventing children from actually being able to learn necessary skills and how to deal with situations they will almost certainly face later in life. Yes, children can be much more vulnerable, but the answer isn't to hide them away from everything, but to teach them how to better deal with situations they may face. However, that tends not to be politically popular -- which is why it's that much more surprising to hear of a new report, requested by the UK Prime Minister pointing out just how problematic the rush to "protect the children" can be. As Slashdot points out, the key line from the exec summary is worth repeating:
"Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe -- this isn't just about a top-down approach. Children will be children -- pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim."
This reminds me, too, of a line used last year by famed judge (and IP expert, to boot) Richard Posner in striking down an anti-video game law:
"Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low ... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it."
If only more people would recognize such things.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Grady, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:55pm



    Yep, I'm awake.

     

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  2.  
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    Grady, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 8:57pm

    Re:

    Edit:
    **Pinches self**

    Yep, I'm awake.

    **Jaw hits floor**

    Rather...surprising....

     

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  3.  
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    John, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 9:14pm

    I am actually writing a paper right now on moral education and while I do agree that violent video games have little effect on actual violence, the judges comments are a tad cynical aren't they. One of the things I am writing about is how teachers once were on the same page with parents when it came to discipline (authoritative). Now, parents have moved towards a more flexible, nurturing parenting style, while many teachers still believe in a strict reward-punishment system. Children, faced with two opposing moral structures, turn to peers and outside influences. Parents should not just give their kids violent video games and expect them to understand the moral problem of violence. They should also not shield their children from society. Parents are faced with the uncomfortable task of actually communicating with their children on a human level. Interesting...

     

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  4.  
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    AdmiralAckbar, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 9:58pm

    No...

    ...April Fools?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 10:56pm

    Re:

    @ AdmiralAckbar: Nope, this is for real. Released last week on other sites as well.


    @ John: "the judges comments are a tad cynical aren't they"

    I don't see how the judge claiming that violence is a part of every day life is very cynical. I by no means live in a high crime rate area, and violence is very much everywhere around here. And not just on TV/Movies/Books/Music.

    My neighbors fight all the time. Usually yelling, but sometimes I swear someone is getting smacked.

    Muggings, robberies, assaults all happen, and they happen nomatter where you live. Even small towns in the midwest have a violent crime rate.

    There are wars literally all over the globe going on right now, with people dying. In America the common man needs to know about them in order to make an informed vote.


    Violence _IS_ a part of life, and has been since time immortal. You can't escape it, some form of it is everywhere.

    Easiest example is one violent-videogame defenders point to often: All the classic operas are chock full of incest, violence, and other "low" behavior.

    Violence and other degeneracies have been glorified since before the dark ages. Take a look at any form of mythology.


    To think that saying children need to be prepared to deal with violence, primarily just emotionally, is cynical is outright laughable.

     

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  6.  
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    Ian Ward-Bolton, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 2:28am

    "Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low"

    WRONG! Go back a mere 6000 years - which is a tiny fraction of the existence of the human race - and you will see that there was no violence at all. People were peaceful and co-operative and looked after their home, our planet. The turning point came with the birth of the Ego, and things have never been the same since.

    You can read all about this in The Fall by Steve Taylor.

    As for Gordon's comments, that does sound more like The Continuum Concept, which is the right and natural way to raise kids.

     

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  7.  
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    Lucretious, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 2:38am

    I've always felt the anti-bullying laws were problematic just for these reasons. What greater lesson does a child need to learn than to have to deal with life's assholes or just difficult people in general? Are they somehow supposed to magically learn the skills the minute they turn 18?

     

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  8.  
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    Jake, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 3:17am

    Well there's a turn-up for the books; the idea that parenting best-practice includes not patronising your kids and crediting them with a degree of judgement and common sense has generally been beyond anyone desperate enough to take consultancy jobs from our current government. Clearly our Prime Minister is more of a Scottsman than I gave him credit for...

     

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  9.  
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    Eliot, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 6:33am

    Bravo

    That makes me a little warm inside. I hope parents (and politicians) listen.

     

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  10.  
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    BTR1701, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    > Go back a mere 6000 years - which is a tiny
    > fraction of the existence of the human race

    Not sure where you're getting your science, but 6000 years is actually a very significant chunk of human history. Hardly the "tiny fraction" you claim.

    And there's no such thing as the "human race". Humans are a species, not a race.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    Violence is normal in society, but it is not a normal behavior in the individual. That is why I am saying the judge's comments are cynical. Of course violence will always exist, but that does not make it acceptable. Whether it has been glorified in the past does not make it defensible in the present. I would hope that thousands of years of civilization, we might make some modicum of progress in actually being more civilized.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 8:09am

    "Now, parents have moved towards a more flexible, nurturing parenting style, while many teachers still believe in a strict reward-punishment system."

    *snort* In some areas, teachers are not even allowed to use time-out as a punishment anymore, nor can they say negative things like, 'You're not supposed to do that.". They're supposed to 'redirect' children to new activities without any of that negative discipline. If more parents believed in a strict discipline system, we wouldn't be having alot of these problems, esp. concerning the complete lack of personal responsibility in the average American.

     

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  13.  
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    KeithJM, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 10:18am

    Re: no wars 6000 years ago?

    It's interesting that you choose a time that's JUST before recorded history started. Certainly, we know that there have been wars since the beginning of recorded history, but by definition we can't know what happened before people started writing down what was happening.

    I think it's clear that humans will fight anytime there are scarce resources, or resources that might become scarce in the future, or anytime it's to their advantage to create an artificial scarcity of a resource . . . oh, never mind. People fight.

     

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  14.  
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    Jason Still, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: no wars 6000 years ago?

    I think its safe to say that there was plenty of violence before the beginning of recorded history. Hunting large animals and fighting off other predators has never been a particularly peaceful affair, and especially not back when it had to be done at club or spear range.

     

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  15.  
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    Kiba, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Re:

    In actuality, we as a species has become more peaceful as our civilization progressed. At the beginning of recorded, we were more likely barbaric than peaceful.

    There are many theories regarding the decline of violence but I favors the technological progress that makes communication easier and our ability to empathize.

    The facts that we became horrified of the mass genocide of Jews is a testament to the kinder side of human side and communication technologies.

     

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  16.  
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    Celes, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 7:08pm

    Re:

    As another outlandish example, I remember reading about one teacher that was forced to stop using red ink when grading papers because it had a negative connotation.

    Come on, kids screw up. If we're not allowed to teach them to a) fix it or b) not do it in the first place then I'm fairly afraid for my daughter. (I'm one of those rare parents that would actually BELIEVE the school if someone told me my kid did something wrong.)

    I wonder what will happen to these "protected" children when they get jobs? Is the business world also supposed to coddle them and tell them that everything they do is OK even if it isn't?

     

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  17.  
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    Ian Ward-Bolton, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 1:11am

    Re: Re:

    I admit I got my numbers wrong in regards the history of the human *species*. (I was thinking of the history of the planet earth). Wikipedia reckons "modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago", but that still leaves 194,000 years of non-violence.

    In answer to other posters, I do not class hunting animals for food as violence, and the convenience of referring to a time before recorded history is not a convenience at all but supporting evidence for my argument. No one cared about recording history before the Ego.

    If you want more proof, check out some primative tribal villages that have been largely untouched by civilization. The book The Continuum Concept talks about one such place and conforms there is no violence there.

     

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  18.  
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    known coward, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 8:00am

    human history non violent ??

    with all due respect, you are out of your mind. ;o)

    Most stone age societies studied in new guinea and the amazon were quite violent and had the nasty (oops sorry that puts a negative connotation on the tribal traditions) habit of eating the missionaries and anthropologists going out to study them.

    Males of any species tend to be violent. Has something to do with competition for breeding.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:36am

    your a fool

    your a fool if you think clubbing an elk to death is less violent than killing a million civilians in GTA. its very convinient for your argument that you do not class hunting animals for food as violence. hey i dont count any act that dosnt spill blood as violent, so yelling at my wife and beating my kid in the chest is just peachy keen! you may have been on the right track to say that before "the ego" that crime rates were down, but crime != violence. However there is recourd before 6000 years ago, cave drawings and forensic eveidance that suggest that there were wars for resources, terittory and even genocide (Homo sapians apparently didnt like homo neandrthalinsis very much) so explain to me how violence is a (relativly) modern concept? not to mention that early courting rituals were maily brawls and gang rapes.........

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Same poster as above., Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:38am

    Re: your a fool

    Addition...

    oh but i get it, you must get your history lessons from the Flintstones

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Ian Ward-Bolton, Apr 5th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    Re: your a fool

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoneage

    I think you will find that what I am saying makes perfect sense. As soon as people stopped just being hunter-gatherers and started stockpiling food or forming larger societies things started to go wrong. But the most important trigger for "The Fall" and the subsequent birth of the ego was when their lives were threatened by changing climate.

    "The period between the end of the last ice age, 10,000 years ago to around 6,000 years ago, was characterised by rising sea levels and a need to adapt to a changing environment and find new food sources."

    People got scared, and that fear manifested as violence. All violence is rooted in fear.

    It's no coincidence that we are seeing more and more violence now with the looming threat of Global Warming.

    It is not in man's nature to be violent, as proven by many Buddhists and other nonviolent people around the world.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Dave, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 1:00am

    Re: Re: your a fool

    >>It is not in man's nature to be violent, as proven by many Buddhists and other nonviolent people around the world.

    Counter argument:
    It is in man's nature to be violant, as proven by countless terrorists, rapists, murderers, domestic violance and more and more.

    You can't simply conclude something about man's nature by saying a certain group does or doesn't do something.
    Especially when it's so easy to counter.

    I'd like to believe you're right but from what evidence I see I find your statement hard to believe.
    Violence can already be noticed in little children, hitting eachother over a small toy.
    Children at first have very little control over their emotions and behaviour, their frontal lobe in the brain still needs to develop. So they will be angry and frustrated and let this out in violent behaviour.
    The non-violent behaviour needs to be tought it's NOT part of their nature to be non-violent.

    Maybe all this is caused by the explosion of Ego as you mention, but evidence does seem to point to it that this Ego and violance is now (for at least 6000 years we agreed) part of human nature, regardles if in the past we did or did not have this aspect.

    Violence (verbal violence, calling names and so on) being part of human nature can also be easily concluded from reading the average response in any blog, just read this one! :-)

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    art of justice, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 7:03pm

    $20000 REWARD AGAINST SAMANTHA LOWRY

    $ 20000 REWARD FOR THE ARREST OF SAMANTHA LOWRY


    WANTED


    A REWARD OF $20000 USD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST, CHARGES FILED AND CONVICTION OF SAMANTHA LOWRY.


    Samantha Jennifer Lowry is Wanted for: Multiple counts of Fraud, Kidnapping, Theft, Criminal mischief and is a suspect of "MURDER FOR HIRE".

    Samantha Jennifer Lowry was Born February 15, 1983 in the United Kingdom.

    Samantha Lowry aliases: Sam Lowry, Jennifer Lowry, Sam J Lowry, Samantha Jennifer Lowry.

    Last seen in Bishopstone, Wilshire, Swindon. UNITED KINGDOM.
    Samantha Lowry Previously resided in Austin, Mexico, Texas, New York, and Tarragona, Spain.

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    Receive up to $60,000 dollars for information leading to the arrest, charges filed, and conviction of the following persons:

    Susan Gail Lowry, John Auriol Lowry, Tristan Nind, Joseph Lowry, Scarlett Lowry and any other person or persons involved.

    If you have any information on the whereabouts of the person(s) or any information leading to their arrest, charges filed and conviction. Please contact artofjustice@hotmail.com immediately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    DANIEL, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 7:56pm

    MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE USED FOR 35 MILLION DOLLAR FRAUD!

    www.NEWSOFTEXAS.INFO (PRESS THE RED BOTTON) FOR THE START OF 35 MILLION DOLLAR FRAUD AIDED BY MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE WHO ARE PARLIAMENT MEMBERS.
    WE BELIEVE MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE WHERE USED AND MANIPULATED BY THE LOWRY FAMILY. BUT MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE CONTACTED EVEN TONY BLAIR TO HELP THE LOWRY FAMILY COMMIT THEIR FRAUD, WE BELIEVE ALSO TONY BLAIR WAS UNAWARE IT WAS A FRAUD OF 35 MILLION DOLLARS. BUT MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE HAS RECEIVED THE EVIDENCE, MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE HAS RECEIVED THE COURT RECORDS, MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE HAS RECEIVED SEEN THE SITES, MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE KNOWS OF THE FRAUD, MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE ALSO KNOWS THE MURDER OF DANIELĀ“S FATHER AFTER HE COUNTERSUED SAMANTHA LOWRY, MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE HAS SEEN A LOT MORE EVIDENCE THEN ON THE SITES, MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE KNOW SAMANTHA LOWRY HAS KIDNAPPED SEBASTIAN, BUT THEN WHY MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE ARE NOT TAKING ACTION? OR MAYBE MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE DID NOT MIND TO BE LIED TO , MANIPULATED, USED BY THE LOWRY FAMILY? OR MEG MUNN AND ANNE SNELGROVE KNEW EVERYTHING ALL ALONG?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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