Paedo children warped by the internet are the latest moral panic
Internet porn and the rape suspects aged 10
This is a:
“New fear for young after 24 police forces arrest under-13s for sex crimes in a year.”
Has there been a rise? Is there a proven link between children raping children and web porn?
No. And no. The Mail makes lot of noise but delivers little details.
Paul Bentley notes:
Twenty-four forces arrested children under 13 for suspected rape in the past year while seven detained at least one ten year old. The figures, obtained by the Daily Mail under a Freedom of Information request, highlight growing concerns at the influence of online pornography on impressionable young minds.
They might. But what’s the link between the arrests and internet porn?
Yesterday NSPCC spokesman Jon Brown said there was ‘undoubtedly’ a link between children carrying out sexual assaults and easy access to online pornography, which gives them a ‘distorted picture of what sexual relationships should be about’.
John Carr, from the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety, said: ‘There is already a widespread feeling that the internet is playing an unhealthy part in the early sexualisation of children and these revelations about the arrests of ten-year-olds for rape will add fuel to the flames.’
Of the 39 [0f 52 police forces] that responded, 31 forces had arrested children between the ages of ten and 13 on suspicion of rape in the past year… Seven said the youngest child arrested for rape was aged just ten while six said the youngest was 11, and 11 forces said the youngest suspect was 12. Forces reported only the age of the youngest child they had arrested for the crime, meaning the actual number of very young children detained in each age group could be much higher.
It could. Is it? Is the unknown more important than what is known? The only facts we get are these:
According to the figures, 357 children aged 18 and under were found guilty of a range of sex crimes including rape, sexual assaults on other children, grooming, incest and taking or possessing indecent photographs of minors.
Under 18. The headline talks of minors, 10-year-olds. Under 18 is not always underage.
The NSPCC’s Mr Brown adds:
“There is a definite link between this and watching hardcore porn. It is an issue of entitlement. If a child has watched a rape scene the same child might attempt to act that piece of behaviour out. The children talk about acting out what they have watched.”
The Mail then gets the opinion of an anonymous source. Remaining unnamed does little to help their testimony:
One child abuse investigator said the easy availability of pornography was changing children’s behaviour. The civilian investigator, who works for a South East England force, said: ‘When we arrest juveniles for sex crimes we increasingly find they have accessed hardcore pornography. This is often on their phones where they store videos and pictures to share with their friends. It is not something my colleagues would have dealt with ten years ago.’
Well, no. That’s because mobile phones were not so prevalent in 2002 and mobule broadband was not an option.
The Mail then quotes Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz.
Earlier this year, Mrs Berelowitz told MPs that online porn is turning children into sex attackers. ‘They have watched things and then they’ve enacted them,’ she said. ‘It has definitely affected children’s thresholds of what they think is normal.’
This is the Mrs Berlowitz also told a House of Commons committee:
“We should start from the assumption that children are being sexually exploited right the way across the country. As one police officer who was the lead in a very big investigation in a very lovely, leafy, rural part of the country said to me: ‘There isn’t a town, village or hamlet in which children are not being sexually exploited.’”
On she went:
“That is part of what is going on in some parts of our country. It is very sadistic, it is very violent it is very ugly.”
She said the issue of how social networking, BBM messaging and pornography was being used as part of the exploitation of children and young people – often by teenagers not much older than themselves – was of serious concern.
Child abuse now encompasses children abusing chidlren. Oh. brave new world. The child’s sexuality is seen through the eyes of the adult. Crimes exist, of course, but the idea that perverted, sexually depraved childlren are growing in number is far from proven. It looks like adult fantasy.
“Social networking sites can be a source of real problems in this area. They [the perpetrators] are sometimes filming their victims, girls are making themselves vulnerable by filming themselves …
There is risk in listening without question to people whose job it is to highlight dangers. In 2007, a United Natiaons study fond the UK wanting. The Guardian noted:
The UK is bottom of the league of 21 economically advanced countries according to a “report card”‘ put together by Unicef on the wellbeing of children and adolescents, trailing the United States which comes second to last.
The news was seized upon by Al Aynsley Green, the then children’s commissioner for England:
“I hope this report will prompt us all to look beyond the statistics and to the underlying causes of our failure to nurture happy and healthy children in the UK. These children represent the future of our country and from the findings of this report they are in poor health, unable to maintain loving and successful relationships, feel unsafe and insecure, have low aspirations and put themselves at risk.”
The desire to paint as a grim a picture as posisble pervades.
In 1995, the Independent told readers:
The NSPCC’s most controversial publicity campaign came in 1990, when it raised the spectre of a new kind of child abuse – satanic or ritual abuse. A survey of its 66 child protection teams showed that six had encountered allegations of ritual abuse. The questionnaire sent to the teams asked about the occurrence of incidents, such as children having nightmares and tantrums.
But a press officer told journalists this finding was a symptom of Satanic abuse – children were sexually abused by devil-worshippers in black magic ceremonies, which included the eating of faeces, drinking of blood and urine and the sacrifice of children and animals. The NSPCC subsequently trained social workers to identify ritual abuse, helping to spread the Satanic panic that led to unsubstantiated allegations in Rochdale and the Orkneys; a subsequent inquiry concluded there was no evidence for ritual abuse.
WIth each new panic, comes a new crusade to expose the unseen dark underbelly, the rest of the iceberg. Abuse occurs. Of course it does. The guilty should be locked away. The victims must be listened to. The authorities have not listened in the past. But those who work in the abuse industry must take care not to create problems and moral panics from feelings. They should stick to the facts….