Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Warped priorities

The leading editorial in today's Independent dissects the media scrum surrounding the disappearance of 4-year old Madeleine McCann in Portugal.

"The truth is that the nation's children are not seriously at risk from marauding paedophiles. Despite all the talk of stranger-danger, most child abuse is perpetrated from within the family. And children are far more at risk from falls from open windows or pushchairs where they are not strapped in - or from matches and lighters, medicines and chemicals, kettles and light flexes, broken glass or kitchen knives, or from choking on small toys, peanuts and marbles - than they are from sexual predators. Nearly all lost children are found. The worst that will happen to most children left unattended in bed is that they will awake, become upset and cry.

The hysteria created by the reporting of this and similar cases does no service to anyone. It will lead only to children being wrapped in cotton wool and prevented from developing the social skills and independence they need to survive. Far from offering a shared catharsis, all it does is spread the virus of fear."

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