In Other News...
The Catholic Church and United Nations have announced the planned withdrawal of all personnel from the United Kingdom.
Levity aside, the issue is a sensitive one because kids do
need to be protected from sexual predators, but it's far too easy to go overboard
and end up doing more harm than good.
That's the premise of the article which, I think it's important to bear in mind, is from June 2008.
All the talk of "tests" is somewhat misleading, since the the author of the article went on to explain that what's actually being conducted are
criminal background checks. That seems to have resulted in misunderstandings on the part of some members.
Of greater concern than the "tests" is an atmosphere of paranoia which hurts both adults and children alike.
I don't think anyone is arguing that children shouldn't be protected, nor that there aren't reasonable measures that can and should be taken.
Putting children in a "lock box" and turning all contact with adults into Kafkaesque ordeals, however, is not the answer.
Far and away the most important thing next to responsible supervision is to teach children their rights, and make sure they know they can talk to
someone they trust when they are in any way concerned about an adult's behavior. They don't need to be terrorized, just educated and listened
Meanwhile, adults must be sensitive to concerns about safety and ensure that their behavior toward children is appropriate and sensible.
By nature, paranoia is not rational, so until it dies down, we can expect more trouble from it. On the other hand, the problem of sexual abuse of
children hasn't received enough attention until recently, either.
Far too many children have suffered for far too long to ever
sweep it under the rug again.
So yes, some of the measures being used to protect children from sexual predators can be irritating or downright discouraging.
But in the end, I still think it's better than the alternative.