‘What’s it all about, Alfie?’
Once again the emotive issue of teenage pregnancy has hit the headlines in the UK. The recent news that 13 year old Alfie, and his 15 year old girlfriend Chantelle have become parents, has sparked a frenzy occupying all branches of the media from the broadsheets to the tabloids and the BBC to YouTube, as well as attracting the attention of senior politicians. Although, very young, Alfie and Chantelle are by no means, the youngest children to become parents. Instead what appears to have attracted all of this media attention is Alfie’s appearance, described as ‘baby-faced’.
The media concern with teenage pregnancy is nothing new, but what is particularly worrying about Alfie’s story is the media fixation with the boy, himself. The media may well argue that this story is in the public interest, highlighting issues of poor parenting, the age of consent, together with questions relating to the efficacy of sex education. Unfortunately, by focusing and arguably mocking Alfie’s immaturity the media appears to have forgotten that he is just a child. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, it is hard to believe that the stigmatising of a teenager will achieve anything worthwhile.