There’s a certain oddity here

More than 300 children as young as six have been deemed suspects in so called “sexting” offences, Scotland Yard has revealed.

Officers said they had seen an increase in the number of youngsters sharing sexual photos and videos of themselves and others, but warned that they could be breaking the law.

The oddity being, well, what children of 6 do themselves – no, not done to them – is pretty much the definition of childhood activities, isn’t it? Something which perhaps ought not to be criminalised?

21 comments on “There’s a certain oddity here

  1. Isn’t this a reason why parents shouldn’t be letting their children loose on social media? That it puts them at risk of committing – what would for an adult be a crime – when they’re too young to understand what is or isn’t appropriate behaviour. An extreme analogy would be giving a six year old a firearm & ammunition to play cowboys & indians. You’re not going to get anywhere by making the manufacturers responsible for tots not shooting each other.
    Alas, as today’s parents seem to have abandoned all sense of responsibility, it’s hard to see a solution to the problem.
    Incidentally, had to install Whatsapp on a couple of fones last week. There’s a part of the installation process where the installer has to declare they’re 16 or over. I would presume that implies a user restriction, similar. Don’t use other free social media, but I’d imagine the same requirement applies to them. So WTF are kids under 16 doing on social media in the first place? Do parents give their kids keys to the family car when they’re big enough to reach the pedals? Presumably they’re stupid enough.

  2. bloke in spain,

    “Alas, as today’s parents seem to have abandoned all sense of responsibility, it’s hard to see a solution to the problem.”

    Well, no, they haven’t. These are the rare cases. Most parents I know didn’t let their kids use Facebook until they were 13 or 14. Hang out on Facebook with most mothers, or spend some time on Mumsnet, and they’re the same as they ever were. There’s the odd exceptional case, and you find mothers gossiping about the 9 year old with their own phone.

  3. It’s fairly commonplace in my child’s school for the 10 year olds to have smartphones. So far I have resisted the pressure and if it were simply a matter of pressure my daughter, would be happy to do so indefinitely. But what I have to bear in mind is the risk that at some point she is ostracised and even bullied for not having one. A dilemma as old as the hills.

  4. I’d say you were very hopeful, BoM4. What I’ve seen of parents most seem to regard the interweb as a free childminding service. laid on for their benefit.

  5. “Until recently children aged six were too young to be charged with (?most/?all) criminal offences.”

    Now they are having their collars felt for wrongthink. No crime necessary…

  6. Luddy: if your daughter wants a smartphone she is a complete liberty to go out and purchase one herself.
    When I was 13/14/ish I wanted a computer. I saved up for a year and bought one. Me. Myself. With my money. It never crossed my mind to demand somebody else give me one for free.

  7. I let my eldest daughter have a basic smartphone for her 8th birthday as she’s been asking for one for ages. This was on the strict proviso that it was only for texting family members and a few educational games. It’s heavily locked down with the Google family manager which means I have to approve all new app installations and it also locks itself between 19:00 and 07:00. It also has no mobile data so only works inside the house when connected to WiFi.

    I consider this a balanced introduction to the technology that will inevitably become a big part of her life as she grows up, and gives her the opportunity to keep in touch with family on her own terms. Strictly no social media!

  8. If children are old enough for dysmorphophobia drugs, they are old enough to commit crimes.

    BTW, bis, I got my first gun at 6.

  9. What gets me is it would be entirely possible to have a walled off, child friendly, part of the internet. Start with a top level domain -.kid if you like – and browsers & apps would only access sites on that domain. Have social media would require credit card validation to open an account. If the problem was isolated from the wider net it’s relatively easy to solve. But parents who would happily spend a couple of hundred quid for a fone for their vermin won’t spend a few quid to protect them. There’s no demand. If there was you can bet the market would be providing it. So you get this endless pressure to regulate the entire net to childsafe standards. Which would not only be virtually impossible but hideously costly & restrictive to attempt to implement.
    Incredibly it’s the least childsafe part of the interweb demonstrates how to do it. The “Dark Web”. Sites you can’t search for on google & require a passkey to enter.

  10. Its only just over a year ago that <a href="Prof David Runciman" was making a serious argument for votes for 6-year-olds so I suppose this is the logical next step.

    bis, walling kids in isn’t the problem, jts keeping predators out.

    PS I’m getting other people’s email addresses as well.

  11. Actually, jgh, she doesn’t have that liberty. I don’t want her on social media platforms at the age of ten. And by the sound of them (I don’t use any myself), I don’t much care for the idea of her using them at 16. It’s not particularly a cost issue, albeit the mania constantly to upgrade gets them young. It’s a how-is-she-sensibly-to-live issue.

    I think there needs to be greater solidarity among parents, to prevent being worn down by the attrition of one child getting the latest iPhone, so another follows, and so on, so that the kids of the parents who hold out can have their own cache, their own clique.

  12. @BiND
    ” walling kids in isn’t the problem, jts keeping predators out.”
    If you want to protect sheep from wolves, you put ’em in a fold set dogs to watch over them. You don’t have them running all over the hills.
    But don’t look for common sense amongst you’ve average parent. Their kids are always someone else’s responsibility.

  13. Similar approach to BiK and the built in functionality for this has improved a lot over the last few years, apple and google both have built in versions that are easy to use. For example Apple allows you to block categories so you can block all social media apps or limit the times and for how long they can use it, so as they get older allowing 30mins of Social media between 4pm and 6pm is easy to do.
    One thing I’d add is looking at locking down the browser as they can use it to access mobile sites for social media instead of going through the app

  14. Given that we are talking about British police, I suspect that if you have the six year olds a knife rather than a smartphone the police would lose interest.

  15. They–ie Marxist shite– want kids aged 6 heads filled with pervy shite–and then they whine cos said kids do pervy stuff?

  16. In pre-enlightened times, American kids took their guns to school.

    I did, in the 1950s. Back when guns were an inanimate tools.

    Now, they kill millions.

  17. R v Tyrrell 1894 – you can’t be an accomplice or aid and abet breaking a law designed to protect you.

    10 years old is the minimum age for criminal responsibility ok England and Wales.

    Newspaper struggles for decent headline news at eleven……

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