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A little Monday morning inspiration…

Back in 2003, I pointed readers in the direction of a Guardian interview, by Decca Aitkenhead, with a teenage mother called Hannah White. She gave birth to Ebony in the middle of her GCSEs, and still managed to get great results.

The comment thread on my post turned into something of a support forum for teenage mums, which offers fascinating reading in itself. Hannah came along and contributed from time to time, but towards the end of last year it kind of petered out.

But now, Hannah herself has¬†posted on there again, letting us know that she’s now got her degree and has started working full time in neurosciences, as Ebony has just turned five.

I just think this goes to show how the stereotypes of teenage parents can so often be wide of the mark.

Congratulations, Hannah, and all the best for the future. ūüôā

This 1,416th post was filed under: Classic Posts, Health, Media, , , , , .

The BBC’s “Have Your Say” feature adds value

Yesterday, Barnardo’s released the results of a survey of 2,000 adults which revealed that 54% felt that children in the UK behave like animals. That’s strong and, frankly, scary stuff… Clearly not enough people have been reading this site.

The very same day, one of my blogging colleagues over at Crashed Pips used the story to deliver an almighty¬†harangue against BBC News‘s Have Your Say feature. I’m sorry, Jonathan, but in this case I just can’t agree.

You see, I find some comments on Have Your Say as amusing as the next guy. I greatly appreciate the efforts of site like spEak You’re bRanes in putting the funniest and most ridiculous contributions directly in front of my eyes via Google Reader.

Yet, like the BBC Radio 5 Live Phone-in, in amongst the utter banality lies the occasional sparkling diamond – one of those moments where you finally understand why your opinion is so disconnected from that of almost everybody else, and perhaps come to appreciate the frame of reference the rest of the world is using.

Given, then, that I was so utterly dumbfounded to discover that the majority of adults apparently view children as feral, the Have Your Say¬†discussion plays a vital role: It allows the seemingly idiotic majority to explain and justify their views. After having the pleasure of reading a couple of pages of comments, it’s suddenly much clearer that the majority is primarily made up of those who fervently believe the misleading impression of youth generated by the media. This allows my breathing to steady, my pulse to slow, and me to continue with daily life.

My point is that this is the kind of story where Have Your Say¬†is anything but useless: It allows for clearer expansion and explanation of the nation’s feelings on a topic and hence adds¬†to the reportage. A Have Your Say topic about living with Blackberries, with a tenuous link to the Presidential style of Barack Obama, is clearly less enlightening.

Now, there’s just one other thing puzzling me about Jonathan’s post: He says that, in the minds of the masses,

anyone under 25 who speaks with a slight accent and wears a hoody is automatically a troublemaker

I’m under 25, speak with a slight accent, and quite often wear a cardigan. What the hell does that make me?

This 1,377th post was filed under: News and Comment, Responses, , , , , , , .


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