Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Time for Young People

So Britain is the worst developed country in the world to be a child. This probably comes as no surprise to many parents.

The other day my friend Gillian was telling me about her son Charlie. Charlie is 15 and has lived in London all his life - he is a good kid. He was always winning sports awards at the same state primary school my children attended. I've always considered himself quite streetwise.

The other day on a crowded bus he was mugged.

Three teenage youths cornered Charlie and his friend at the back of the bus.
"Give me your mobile phone" was the demand
"I don't have one" said Charlie
"You do - I know where you live - and I've got a knife" was the reply.

Charlie tried to catch the eye of the adults on the bus but they hid behind their newspapers. He believed the threat of the knife and handed over his phone.

Charlie is now too frightened to travel on the bus. He won't go out alone and feels let down by adults. His mum is back driving him around. This happened between Chelsea Bridge and Sloane Square - its not just the back streets.

Of course this crime didn't get reported to the police. I have advised Gillian to give her son a clapped out old mobile.

We are all working longer and longer and travelling further. We struggle to make time for our families - for our children let alone our older relations. Blaming the parents alone is not going to solve the problem - and it is a problem.

We live in a society where people aren't taking responsibility, where adults are frightened by children, where the other adult witnesses felt is was OK to hide. The result is that the Good Guys like Charlie have lost their freedom. That freedom is something worth fighting for.

3 comments:

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Hi Vicky, Great blog post. Poor Charlie. Parenthood has got to be one of the most difficult jobs, yet often one of the most under appreciated in modern society. All of us should be protective of children in the street or on the bus - they are our future. I hope Charlie can get back on the buses soon and I hope he goes to the police - don't some buses have CCTV? Keep up the fantastic blog. All the very best. Michelle

delroy said...

Vicky said
"We are all working longer and longer and travelling further. We struggle to make time for our families - for our children let alone our older relations. Blaming the parents alone is not going to solve the problem - and it is a problem.
We live in a society where people aren't taking responsibility, where adults are frightened by children, where the other adult witnesses felt is was OK to hide."

Why do you say we when you are so obviously referring to you.
My wife never worked from the birth of our first child until our fourth was eleven. Then she worked part time until they had all finished school. Now our children have left school, we have paid off our mortgage and I work two days a week. I travel one mile to work and he works from home. We spend lots of time together, own a 40 year old motor car, and our foreign holidays have amounted to two long weekends in Paris - one at our 30th anniversary and one at our thirty fifth. Personally, I like Glasgow or Liverpool nearly as much.
On the rare occassions that we see wrong doing we get involved. Usually we just call the police but we have also apprehended burglars and stopped assaults ourselves.
Of course we don't live in London, I moved away from the East End 40 years ago but in a small city near to Shropshire.
We discovered a long time ago that quality of life is much better than the pursuit of money.
Don't include us in your pathetic 'we'.

alex said...

delroy I'm afraid thats exactly the point. 30 years ago people were much more likely to have your attitude and people were more prepared to take responsibility than they are now across many aspects of their lives-childcare, financial responsibility, social responsibility, and less likely to be so materialistic.

So society is different today, perhaps if Vicky had said "young adults" you would have been less offended but I don't believe you can deny the underlying truth of what she has said