I’d just like to draw your attention to a few things that illustrate some of the concerns I’ve had in recent blogs.

Firstly with regards to how children are influenced by the media, the other day police were called to a school in south Yorkshire after children were attacked by fellow pupils for having ginger hair. This was apparently inspired by an episode of South Park where the same story line was enacted. Half a dozen children had minor injuries – thankfully none more serious – and the children were reportedly targeted all round the school. Parents immediately created a Facebook page to protest and show the injuries and the school said that the children responsible had been reprimanded. I’m not quite sure what the next statement means, but they said that “any further acts, carried out in the name of discrimination, will be met with similar strong and decisive actions.” Being ‘reprimanded’ must be terrifying for some…

Secondly, the appalling bad practice of 15 minute care visits to some of the most vulnerable in our society, which was heavily criticised by charities and local authorities alike, resulted in the Care Quality Commission being given the power to challenge poor commissioning (at least it seemed that way). Now we hear that the government has tabled several amendments that would take away the CQC’s power to challenge this practice. The Leonard Cheshire Disability charity commented that the government is not going to ban these heartless flying visits. “Its response is to weaken the care bill by removing powers for the CQC to review how local councils buy care – it’s a mystery. They say one thing and do another but there’s no point to a watchdog without teeth.”

Finally back to primary school children again, who in a survey on internet use, 1/5 of them claimed to have met someone who they only previously knew online. These are children between 9 and 11 years old. Again 1/5 said they never received any training on safe internet use. Many claim to be years older online than their true age. A 3rd said their parents had set up their accounts. 1,162 children in 15 schools were surveyed. So many other worrying facts came out of this survey that back up so much of what we’ve been saying for several years now about the potential dangers of letting children have unrestricted and unsupervised access to the internet. Couple this with the still woeful lack of technological education for parents and you still have one of the most dangerous recipes for abuse in today’s society.

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