Thursday, 7 February 2019

Harm alarm

From the BBC we hear about the ultimate harm - killing. 

Knife crime: Fatal stabbings at highest level since records began in 1946

The number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales last year was the highest since records began in 1946, official figures show.

There were 285 killings by a knife or sharp instrument in the 12 months ending March 2018, Office for National Statistics analysis shows.

From Sky we have a piece about a more fashionable type of harm where even the possibility of genuine harm remains uncertain. Yet real or not, this is one our government is determined to tackle. 

The government is preparing an ambitious, world-leading plan to regulate swathes of the online world.

For once, the scheme has almost universal support; with the press, both main political parties and public opinion lined up to back it.

Everyone agrees that something - something! - must be done about the ravages of "online harms"...

Pressure groups and charities condemn it; politicians inveigh against it.

Yet when two leading researchers, Andrew Przybylski and Lucy Bowes, undertook the largest-ever study of cyberbullying in 2017, based on a representative sample of 120,115 adolescents, they concluded that children were far less likely to be victims of cyberbullying than traditional bullying, and that cyberbullying was not rising at a dramatic rate.

The campaign against it, Przybylski said, was a "panic".

It is hardly radical to suggest that covert priorities are probably at work here. Government elites seem determined to censor the internet. In their eyes the online world may be unreliable but is not unreliable in an officially approved way - such as the BBC way. A few myths and half-truths about online harm are grist to this particular policy mill. A few stabbings - not so much. 


Sam Vega said...

There's a nice article about the Facebook corporation's bid to censor itself on Quillette:

That will, of course, be decided by commercial advantage as the Zuckerbergites cave in to pressure from SJWs. Or maybe the world as a whole - the huge markets of China and India - like a bit of hate speech and are prepared to go elsewhere to get it. That would be a nice quandary for Western liberals.

In the case of our government acting, I think they love a good moral panic. Mods & Rockers, Raves, Dangerous Dogs, Climate Change, Plastic Bags etc. - they are all, as problems, very ill-defined, and therefore our leaders can be seen to do something and nobody can use pesky statistics to prove that the whole thing is a wild goose chase. Virtue signalling while actually holding the levers of power.

Stewart Cowan said...

To the left, 285 fatal stabbings is a catastrophe, which of course it is, but we must all worry ourselves sick about it and the PTB must make up new rules and increase punishment. On the other hand, the same crowd don't see anything wrong in nearly 200,000 deaths a year by abortion and, in fact, want more of them, as they continually try to extend the time limit up to birth for any reason; at least, the psychopathic vocal minority do - the ones who always seem to get their way.

A K Haart said...

Sam - thanks I'll bookmark the link.

"the huge markets of China and India - like a bit of hate speech and are prepared to go elsewhere to get it."

I'm sure you are right so things may change because they have to.

Stewart - and those 200,000 deaths a year by abortion are not far removed from the numbers we take in by immigration.