Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Innocence Wars

Last weekend the Independent reported on Jacqueline Wilson's comments on a Random House survey of British youngsters and their habits. The survey found the following: " Seventy-one per cent of parents said they allowed their children to drink alcohol at home and fifty-three per cent admitted they let their children stay out past 11pm. A third of parents allowed pre-teen children to pierce their ears, and 57 per cent allowed them to watch 18-certificate films." According to the article in the Independent, Wilson responded to the survey stating, "With television and the internet playing a bigger and bigger role in their lives, children are being introduced to ideas and issues which used to be kept away from them. Rather than having fun for the sake of it, and going out to play, they're receiving the adult world in a largely unfiltered form."

Well, not so fast, says Winifred Robinson in today's Telegraph. Robinson states, "Call me cynical but might Random House be offering a platform to its most popular children's author - always guaranteed to generate column inches - because she has a new book out?" And then Robinson questions the content of Wilson's own books, writing, "In the past, though, the adults who were humiliated and destroyed were evil caricatures, whereas in many of today's children's books they tend to be ordinary, flawed mortals simply trying to do their best."

It's an interesting argument, but one I believe has nothing to do with books at all. What say you?