Friday, August 01, 2014

How our concern about child abuse makes children less safe

From the Northants Herald & Post:
A stranger grabbed hold of a boy who was trying to retrieve his football in Kettering. 
Police in Kettering are appealing for witnesses to the incident that took place in St Mary's Road on Wednesday afternoon. 
A seven-year-old boy was playing football when he ran into St Mary's Road to retrieve the ball and a man, who was walking along the footpath grabbed hold of him before letting him go and continuing on his way towards London Road. 
The boy was not injured in the incident and returned home with the football.
Perhaps this incident was sinister - even at attempt at child abduction - but there is simpler, more plausible explanation to hand.

A man is walking along the pavement when he sees a small boy chasing a ball into the road. Because there is a car coming, or he fears there may be one coming or just out of instinct, the man grabs the boy to keep him out of danger.

Last week I blogged about Frank Furedi's book Paranoid Parenting. One of his central arguments in it is the breakdown of what he calls "adult solidarity". This is a good example of that phenomenon.

Until recently other adults were allies in bringing up your children. If you were not around they would look out for your children, tick them off or take them in.

Now other adults are seen as a threat - just look at the involvement of the police and the local paper here - and children live diminished lives as a result. If one

And if some are still allowed to play out, our concern about child abuse means that they are more at risk than ever. How can they ask for help when every adult is a stranger?

Meanwhile, what should an adult male do if he sees a child running into the road?
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