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Home > Media

All the world's a stage

Name / Age / Location / Paedophile?

20 October 2003

Policemen, you'll be glad to hear, don't just hate racial minorities: they also hate paedophiles. The force has just launched their latest down-wit-da-kidz initiative to give every child in Britain a crash course in escaping the clutches of those crazy fucked-up sicko bastard paedophiles who skulk around in Internet chatrooms with their nobs out.

That's right, folks. Stranger danger lessons have gone hi-tech. No longer should children be on alert for shuffling potbellied fellows handing out boiled sweets outside the school gates, or shifty-eyed scout masters giving lifts in cowshit brown Austin Allegros. No, no. The generation of tomorrow, having skipped merrily into a chatroom and sparked up conversation, should live in quivering fear of being asked: A/S/L? Police liaison officers will be striding into every school across the land, starting in London, to give children a lesson in the pitfalls of entering chatrooms. And one of the most important pearls of wisdom they will impart is how to dodge the A/S/L bullet.

Our beautiful, fresh-faced innocents will be instructed in how to be sceptical of whether someone swapping details is who they say they are, and (this is absolutely true) they'll be handed postcards and temporary tattoos sporting alternative details they can give out.

So, should a child run into a dirty, evil, nasty paedophile palming himself off as a 12-year-old girl from Woking, they will know exactly how to talk him into believing they are a 54-year-old welder, living with their frail, doting yet unsuspecting mother in an ex-council semi in Norwich.

Norwich Facts: home of Delia Smith (TV cook) / mustard factory / the Horse and Dray on Ber Street serves Adnams Bitter (your favourite ale). You are worried about your job prospects and think you might have to move to Ipswich - but who will look after your mum? (discuss).

And so a strange world is created in which absolutely no-one is actually who they say they are (oddly reminiscent of the Gary Larson cartoon in which a wolf takes off his sheep's head, looks around at all the other sheep and realises they are *all* wolves in disguise).

There are an estimated 5.6million internet users in Britain aged between seven and 16, who daily run the perv gauntlet by going into chatrooms. They start chatting with a fellow visitor about something wholesome, like how they discovered if you poke a cat with a stick itíll scratch your mate til he bleeds. Then they're asked: A/S/L? They answer: 45, male, Norwich. Do the cops really seriously believe thatís going to throw the paedos off the scent? And how exactly is it going to make the other children in the chatroom feel more secure?

There is a fatal flaw in the concept: if everyone knows that everyone is lying about their A/S/L then no one will believe anyone's A/S/L and everyone - kids and paedophiles alike - will constantly be asking: "yeah, but what is it *really*? - it's all right, you can tell me, I'm not a paedophile..."

The logical next step is to tell the kids actually to pretend to be paedophiles. Give them key phrases to drop in, like "bouncy castle" and "scout hut". Paedophiles are sure to get bored, after a while, of a chatroom in which the conversation is simply:

Hi. I luv fuckng kds
Yeh mee 2
Yeah - I do 2
Yeh - I knw its sick but I just LOVE it. any1 else hre a pEdo?
Yeh. Me. Im a big pEdo.
Me 2

...etc. etc. etc.

It's a paedophile's worst nightmare: a world in which there are no kids left. Just other paedophiles. Proof positive of the old adage: if you can't beat 'em - join 'em.

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

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