Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Paranoia Ends the Ice Rink

It is a bit of irony that just as YoungerWorld is doing a reasoned post on Questioning Child-Friendly Environments a news story comes out examplifying everything that is wrong with the very supposedly "child-friendly" approach. In a reversal best fitting of Orwell, things that are "well-meaning" become in fact very destructive to communities when they are motivated by paranoia.

One has to wonder if pedophiles are really to blame for dismantling the prospect of this ice rink, or if that was more done on the knee-jerk alarmism of a few preventionists. Paranoia this great can only hope to be stopped with a dose of rational thought and common sense.

Plans for a Christmas outdoor ice rink in Bath have been scuppered over fears it could be used by paedophiles to groom children.
Firstly, the proprietors of the St. Johns Prep school might have something to hide. The charge is so senseless it's hard to take their reasoning seriously, and we're forced to consider if there were other factors at stake in their decision. The threat of child molestation is a common scapegoat these days. Secondly, grooming is not going to happen in a public place out in the open. The only perceivable harm that could come out of allowing an ice rink to be built is the chance of it being a scoping ground. This fear is unjustified though, because any public place is a potential scoping ground, whether it's the surrounding parks or the grocery store.

More disturbingly, seeing as 50 percent of child molestation happens within the home by family members, getting an ice rink pulled isn't going to protect the majority of children from abuse anyways. What is unfortunate is that these things happen at the same time others are complaining children need more outdoor activities and less indoor screen time. So one has to wonder who's interests are really being served here.

Brian Cleary, director of Sygma Events said: "We feel that the child protection issues have been used beyond reason and the location for the rink poses no additional risk to children beyond the already busy Bath Leisure Centre, rugby and cricket clubs which are in close proximity to the school."

"It is more likely that with a well staffed and CCTV controlled rink the area would have been a safer environment than at present.

"It comes as a great shame when something as fun and innocent as an ice rink can be thwarted due to unfounded suggestions by a minority with a misguided agenda."

All this amounts to is another blow against normal childhood environments. Hopefully the generation growing up in these places won't be as ignorant as the older one has become.

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