- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Culture and Society

Children: Spare the Rock Painting, Spoil the Child

16 February 2007

It's official: the kids are fucked. And not in a good way.

This week a UNICEF report revealed that the UK's children are the poorest, fattest, most promiscuous, most pissed, most stoned, most dysfunctional and probably worst at Pictionary of most rich nations. The causes of all this childhood grief are clearly complicated, but in the ensuing debate, pundits and the public were quick to highlight the obvious root cause: lack of discipline.

Groan. We're not suggesting that there isn't a problem with discipline of *some* sort with *some* kids, at least judging by some of the monkey children you see in Asda. (Mind you, you're not exactly off to a head start in life if your parents refer to tomato ketchup as 'the red sauce'. True story.) However, it's deeply irksome how the same sodding non-solutions keep coming up, not least the old favourite, National Service. The problem is that most of the 'solutions' simply WILL NOT WORK (sorry about the shouting). We're pissing into the wind here, but let's take them one at a time:

1) Corporal punishment

We had corporal punishment in the 1950s and we didn't have a discipline problem then, runs the argument. Two points: (A) There was plenty of bad behaviour in the 50s, and (B) It's like saying computer games are the cause of obesity. There's *some* causal connection, but it's a simplistic view because there are so many other factors at work. In any case, 'Splinter Cell' is miles
better than skipping.

2) National Service (to instil discipline in society in general)

Sorry, but you can't turn the clock back. Almost no one craves wasting two years of your life when you could be studying or starting some sort of genuine career. And National Service is prohibitively expensive for the government, because, quelle surprise, there isn't much economic benefit in millions of young men marching up and down and painting rocks white.

3) Clamping down on the media

The media promotes bad/criminal behaviour, allegedly. Whoever thinks this obviously has a different Sky package to us, because we haven't seen any shows called 'Why Not Rape Someone?' recently. It's also blindingly obvious that becoming involved in crime is more to do with *real* things than TV, like having crim mates or being addicted to heroin. And on a practical level, what are people proposing to do? Ban TV? There'd be riots in the streets.

4) An end to reality TV

Oh fuck off. Appearing on reality TV may not be the noblest of aspirations, but wanting to be on 'Big Brother' doesn't mean you've somehow rejected all that is good and decent, except maybe if you're Jo O'Meara. But the reality is that Big Brother contestants aren't role models, because even morons regard them as the circus freak show they are.


So there you have it. Maybe people can stop banging on about these predictable non-solutions to discipline problems now. Yeah, right, and maybe when they die, Rupert Murdoch and Paris Hilton can go skating together.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free

Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved