Fair Play for Children News: Scots MSP needs to Buzz Off!
The Mosquito Anti-Teen Device (it has been marketed as such) works on the(entirely bogus) premise that by transmitting an unpleasant high-frequency sound which only teens can hear, it is a valid and even desirable means of social control. Used by shop-keepers, police in mobile units (!), schools and others, there are an unknown number in use in the UK.
Now Scotsrail is in deep doodoo for installing one at its station in Hamilton because of alleged misbehaviour by “youths”. The newspaper reaction:
Local MSP says staff and public safety justifies use of 'anti-teen' device
Hamilton MSP Christina Mckelvie has said the safety of staff, the public are paramount after meeting with Scotrail…
Controversial "mosquito" device at Hamilton Central Station gets a mixed reaction
A war of words has erupted over the use of the controversial "mosquito" anti-loitering device at Hamilton Central…
Commissioner: Anti teen devices spoil 'great place to grow' claim
Ministers' boasts of making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up will ring hollow if they fail to ban…
Anti-teen Mosquito set to be banned by council swat team
The Mosquito exploits youngsters' ability to hear very high frequencies, something which declines as people hit their…
Controversial anti-teen Mosquito device installed at Hamilton station
RAIL bosses have installed a controversial sonic device which emits an unbearable high pitched noise at a 'war zone…
Fair Play for Children entered the fray on this matter some years ago, and concluded that the manufacturer was able to hide (if their arrogant attitude could be rated as hiding) because the UK Government’s attitude was one of not only indifference but even of smug complicity. The then (Labour) Home Secretary said he “sympathised” with those who advocated its use.
The claims for it are matched by what is quite cynically left out:
- It can only be heard by teenagers. UNTRUE — above 25 it is claimed (not teens then) but there is no automatic age-related point which can guarantee this because loss of upper frequency declines at different ages, so that there are 17 year olds who won’t hear it and those above 25 who will — in my case as an A-level teenagers in the 1960 in a Physics lesson, a the teacher enjoined us all to raise our hands and to lower them when we ceased to hear the sound as the frequency generator was racked up. One lad put his hand down right away (“We all know why MacDonald” and gradually all the rest of the hands went down …. except moi . “Poke Cosgrove and wake him up”. “I am awake sir” “You can’t be” “I can still hear it”. A hide-and-squeak game of off-and-on ensued, my hand going up and down like a yo-yo. “Er-hem, gentleman, after 35 years of teaching this lesson at this stage, I am forced to modify my usual statement which is “at about 21 kh at your age, you cease to hear the tone which now reads the same ‘except for Cosgrove and any nearby bats”. (Which I could direction find much to my mates’ amusement.)
- LEFT OUT — however, the manufacturer never mentions younger children whose hearing is more sensitive and able to detect higher frequencies than teens/young adults. The sound generated by the Mosquito is intended to distress so this wretched device will affect them a good deal more than teens etc. An irresponsible and nasty product indeed.
Let’s be clear, it is Discriminatory, breaches the ECHR and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in so many ways, on the basis of age, it also stops freedom of assembly and inflicts distress deliberately. Analogy: a shop-keeper decides that old-age pensioners dithering around in the store and outside are annoying to customers, they block up gangways, dither with purses, ask for buy one tomato and a banana (get the idea?) so he decides to turn a high-pressure hose on them which is likely to knock them down and thus discourage them. WHAT WOULD THE POLICE DO???? Yet in some areas the police have mounted a Mosquito on a vehicle — how about water cannon???
- The UNCRC says that kids should be consulted about matters involving them — any examples of this re the Mosquito? Hallo Scotsrail, anyone there? A convenient device eh, never mind, it’s only kids?????
Ms Mckelvie MSP, letting children and young people down
Ms Mckelvie, MSP, seems to have missed all this, she clearly has failed to do her basic homework, and has entirely let both young people and basic justice and the Rule of Law down. It’s irresponsible not to consider the issues in the round. Fair Play for Children wants to see the Scottish Children’s Commissioner take this all the way and to get this particular device removed and then to use that to pursue the issue in Scotland and to work with the other Four Nations Commissioners to pressure the Government to take action to outlaw its use.
Fair Play will be taking this matter up with the UK Government, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended in its previous quinquennial Report on the state of children’s rights in the UK that this happen, nothing has been done.
Where parents suspect their baby, toddler, child, teenager is being distressed, they are surely entitled to gain the attention and support of their MPs, Councillors, local media etc and also to contact their Four Nations Children’s Commissioner. Boycotts of businesses using the devices is another option.
Supporting electronic vigilantism is pretty odious especially when you can be smug and say “well I can’t hear it”, and profiting from the sale of a device which does that, based on a bogus premise and omitting inconvenient facts which amount to not-caring causing distress to babies and toddlers is beyond contempt. Even its inventor has said its use should be regulated. (How?)
The silence from the Government over recent years on this matter has been so indicative of the punitive attitude towards young people.