Sunday, June 22, 2008

Double Standards in the Protection of Children

Is there double standards in how parents are allowed to raise their children?

Today's Sydney newspaper (Daily Telegraph) shows the perfect example of the dichotomy of how governing bodies believe we should raise our children. On the one hand we have sporting groups and schools banning parents from taking photos of their own children at play and at school. Then on the other hand we have welfare groups gladly handing children back to at-risk parents.

So who really are the bad guys?

When future sports and music (and other) stars look back over their childhood, there will no longer be those promising photos of them taking up their first football, golf club or what have you. There will be no photos of young rising stars breaking world records, or achieving music genius. Why is that? Political correctness gone mad. The reasoning for the banning is that they assume you were only taking photos of your child - while you stand out in the pouring rain at training on a Thursday night in the middle of June - so you can use them as sexual fodder.

Now honestly is this a world gone wrong? I admit I have taken two carefully posed photos of my son in his football jersey. Yep, only two photos after two seasons of playing rugby league. I was careful to make sure no-one else was in the photo with him and that there wasn't anyone in the background for several kilometres, just in case the photo was misconstrued as 'inappropriate." There are no photos of him taking a tackle and no photos of him kicking for goal. Sad really.

Then in the news today I read of a father who has been charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm after inciting his two dogs to maul his one-year-old son causing horrific injuries. The toddler is fighting for his life in the local Children's Hospital. Now it makes me wonder, what else has that baby suffered up to now? Surely this was not a one off thing, this man obviously has serious anger issues and poor parenting skills. Yet he will probably get his child back after everything has quietened down (just like the parents whose daughter died after ingesting an 'accidental dose' of methadone that was in a cough medicine bottle). Again, one must wonder why some people should be allowed to breed.

Now, granted the welfare system is extremely flawed, and there isn't enough resources to protect every child who needs it and it is heartbreaking to know that children will remain at risk. But why are innocent families being penalised, and not allowed to take photos of their own children and their mates while criminals who have injured or abused their children allowed to keep their own, or have more?

Why are governing bodies getting tough on innocent parents who want to take snapshots of their children enjoying their childhoods, but allowing known child abusers to continue getting their children back time and again, without any recourse until it's too late?

All I can say is stop worrying about parents taking photos, and start worrying about the children who show signs of things awry. It should not always be about the battles that can be won, but the battles worth fighting.


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