If you are the type who believes everything they read in the media (as you should be), then you will be well aware that it is currently impossible to leave your house without being stabbed in the face by an 11 year-old gang member. That's right; hoards of 'hoodies' are roaming our streets so they can brutalise you and steal your money for crack...or football stickers. Then when they are finished taking photos of your bloodied corpse on their (stolen) mobile phones, they go home and watch Pokemon. Kid's today eh?! Utter cunts, the lot of 'em. However hopeless this situation might seem, especially to those of us who don't have teenage kids and quite frankly assumed they were all just violent, gum-chewing shits anyway, some people haven't given up the fight. On the BBC's website today there is a feature about a home office booklet for parents, which teaches them how to recognise the signs that their children might be in a gang...because it wouldn't be painfully fucking obvious if you were the kind of parent that actually paid attention to what your kid was doing.
The booklet; possibly entitled "You spawned an ASBO" gives a handy list of bullet points advising parents to look out for certain changes in behaviour. Here are some of the things to look out for:
- Has your child started using new slang words?
- Do they have a new nickname?
- Has their appearance changed? Are they dressing in a particular style or "uniform", for example, wearing a bandana?
- Do they use graffiti style "tags" on possessions such as schoolbooks?
- Do they have unexplained physical injuries?
Despite the booklet offering much sound advice for the proud parents of troublesome pre-pubescent bastards, youth worker Shaun Bailey apparently thinks it's a bit shit. He states that once you notice these signs of gang involvement it's "way, way too late". However not being the kind of guy to piss on the government's bonfire without then handing them a match, he does offer an alternative; "The best way to keep your child out of a gang is to keep your child a child". The man is clearly a genius. The truth of the matter is that if you can find a way to perhaps cryogenically freeze your child, or maybe inflict some kind of psychological torment on them so as they never properly age, gangs will be a thing of the past. Problem solved! Cheers Shaun!
The real booklet entitled: "The Gangs: You and Your Child is available at www.direct.gov.uk