BACKBITE

What the hell happened? One minute I’m playing doctors and nurses in a plastic outfit free with Twinkle, the next I’m being offered coke at an ad industry do.

What the hell happened? One minute I’m playing doctors and nurses in a

plastic outfit free with Twinkle, the next I’m being offered coke at an

ad industry do.



Well, not quite the next minute. But the 25 years in between passed

like a drug-induced dream. Being young today means virtually shimmying

out of your playpen straight into a drug den, apparently.



Last week’s media was full of it: revelations of underage sex, spliffs

behind the bike sheds, teen media accused of egging them on. A Guardian

survey reveals that nearly one in four 15-year-olds has taken drugs and

had sexual intercourse, and almost half of 13- to 15-year-olds has been

drunk.



The grown-ups are outraged. Quite right too. Kids these days are having

so much fun, we’re all jealous. As A. A. Gill (of the Sunday Times) put

it at a Guardian debate on youth last week: ‘The only people who have a

problem with the young are people that aren’t.’



Enter Peter Luff MP, who rehashed his arguments for age classifications

on the front of teen magazines.



Luff’s crusade aims to help parents protect their children from advice

on how to give blow jobs. Presumably, Luff was happier when girls read

Jackie and were led to believe that if a boy asked them out it was

because he loved them, not because he wanted a blow job.



With teenage daughters of his own, you wonder how Luff could be so damn

quaint. Then again, it’s not so hard to see why old farts believe that

most teenagers are vulnerable little souls in need of cotton wool

protection: it’s other old farts who determine how the youth are

portrayed in mainstream media. TV rules mean that sex, drugs, ciggies

and alcohol can only be included in an educational context.



Get real. Until the regulators take a more realistic approach, we’ll all

have a pretty misguided view of what being young means in the 90s. And

that’s as dangerous for the teenagers as it is for the credibility of

our media.



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