Using children as a moral shield

Our attention has been drawn to a very thought provoking article by Frank Furedi  in Spiked online which is well worth reading.

It begins ….

The new TV campaign by child-protection group the NSPCC, launched in the UK today, urges people to report any concern that they might have about a child. Its exhortation – ‘Don’t wait until you are certain’ – is premised on the conviction that mistrusting adults is a healthy and enlightened orientation towards the world. The incitement to act is justified on the grounds that ‘all the time’ people ‘spend procrastinating’ – others might call it reflecting – a ‘child could be in real danger’. Welcome to the NSPCC’s world, a place where it is okay to exploit our fears and natural anxiety about children’s safety in order to encourage a disposition towards suspicion and mistrust.

Some excerpts which caught my eye are

 …… Moral crusaders advocating more child-protection initiatives are so absorbed in their dogma that they have become indifferent to the damaging consequences of their action. Their zealous advocacy of policing adult-children interaction has led them to overlook the destructive consequences of their campaigns….. (and)

…… I have drawn the conclusion that the child-protection movement has unintentionally helped create a cultural climate that actually contradicts its aims. The most regrettable outcome of child-protection policies is that the promotion of mistrust has fostered a climate that is inhospitable to intergenerational encounters. It is no exaggeration to state that a growing number of adults feel awkward and confused when they are in close physical proximity to children whom they don’t know.

…… In the present climate, adults often feel uneasy about acting intuitively and naturally with children. Instead, they feel forced to weigh up whether, and how, to interact with a child they may have just encountered. Such calculated behaviour alters the quality of that interaction. It no longer represents an act that is founded on doing what a man or woman feels is right; it is an act that is influenced by calculations about how it will be interpreted by others and by an anxiety that the interaction should not be misconstrued.

Link to source and full article (here)