There was a whole bunch of stuff in the papers at the weekend about students or, more specifically, the kind of abuse that female students are apparently routinely exposed to when they go off to uni. This is on my mind a lot, as Child One is now poised on the edge of the nest, ruffling her feathers in the breeze and wondering whether to take off.

She could go to art school for a foundation course, or she could plunge straight into a three year degree. I am happy for her to do either. I don’t, of course, want her to meet a single oikish, disrespectful, rude or aggressive boy, whichever she does.

Obviously, this is unrealistic. There are a lot of unpleasant boys – and men – out there, as we all know. Unfortunately, social media have given these creeps platforms which were never available before. Once upon a time, inadequate, misogynist misfits were too tongue-tied to make a nuisance of themselves. They squirmed on the fringes, far too scared to approach a real, live woman – and hating womankind for it. Now they can hide behind twitter names and avatars and pour forth their venom without much restraint, thanks to the lacklustre response of Facebook and Twitter. There are pages set up at universities which are all about these revolting boys fantasising about raping girls studying next to them, and no one does anything about it.

What do you expect to find, I suppose, if you take the top off an adolescent boy’s head and examine his thoughts? It’s going to be an unpleasant soup of testosterone and Pot Noodle. Far better not to let any of it out into the light of day. Facebook isn’t going to ban boys, though. Even though the majority of its users are female, it was set up by, dare I say it, uni geek boys and they don’t seem to care about alienating their lady clientele. Well, more fool them. Women will get sick of the abuse, and drift away, and maybe we’ll dream up our own forum, for a change.

And Child One? I’m not too worried. She has a sharp tongue when it’s needed and, better yet, she’s a technophobe.


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