Sandra Leaton Gray.
Look at the website of any contemporary newspaper, and you would be forgiven for thinking that childhood was a very dangerous time of life. On rolling news services we see stories about things like toddlers being shot by stray bullets in Brazil, small children covered in haemorrhagic rashes, and paedophile rings operating in plain sight.
If nothing spectacularly awful has happened in the last 24 hours, news organisations tend to fall back on their tried and tested reserve topics, for example teenage suicide trends, sexting, adolescent computer hacking and school bullying. Readers are enticed to click through to full stories, much to the delight of advertisers. As a species, we are hard-wired to protect children, and in the modern age, this manifests itself through the desire to learn more about potential risks so we can potentially head them off. In the world of 24/7 news, mass media organisations are well-placed to take advantage of this instinct, and marketise it to their advantage.
What makes this more surprising is that, statistically speaking, it has never been a better (more…)