Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Children in Danger !!

Although I'm a confirmed reader of the left-ish "Guardian" newspaper, for the last several Mondays of 2007 I commuted down to London by Virgin Trains. And on Virgin Trains, for reasons passing all understanding, the oh-so-right "Telegraph" was the only newspaper on sale. They did also have something called a "Daily Mail", but I would hesitate to use that even to wipe up drink spills.

"The Telegraph" 'reports' today that young children will effectively be groomed on the Internet by junk food companies because they are now banned from advertising on kids' TV.

I say 'reports' in inverted commas, because all they are doing is playing to parental fears by using the language of sexual abuse (SERIOUS) for a piece of direct marketing (ANNOYING).

It's a scam "The Telegraph" run with a number of different issues.

(1) Find an issue that their people worry about (Property prices, Child Welfare, School Places, Immigration, Crime, "Standards" ...)
(2) Find a group that their people dislike (too many to list)
(3) Write a story combining (1) & (2), using provocative language and (for extra credit) blaming Gordon Brown.

The point "The Telegraph" is missing here is that the Internet is not nearly as dangerous as TV.

No, Really.

You actually have to make an effort to find the bad stuff on the Internet. With TV all you need do is leave the box running - in some homes I'm sure ITV1 is on for eight hours at a stretch. No kid is going to stay tuned to a Mc-ToadBurger freebie website for hours - there are just too many other things going on on-line just now.

What a great time to be a kid with a computer ! Could the Telegraph readers PLEASE take a breath and wonder if, perhaps, they aren't being a little hysterical.

And the threat of using Chat is even less threatening. Their kids know that when Ronald McDonald sends them a message, he's going to get to the big Iggy and they will go back to chatting with their real m8s.

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