Sexualisation of Children - Protecting Innocence Online
"At long last there is a reality check going on about the dangers children face on the internet from pornography. We read with horror of children as young as eight admitting to pornography addiction, or the 12-year-old boy who raped a nine year old girl because he wanted to 'feel grown up' after viewing explicit images. As with so many other things in life, it has had to reach crisis-point before people begin sitting up and taking notice. "
Kids act out porn with other kids, MPs warned
"June 01, 2012
The journalist's fallacy
Tim objects to this:
A generation of youngsters may be developing a skewed view of sex from pornography, a court has heard, after a 12-year-old schoolboy raped and sexually assaulted a younger girl after copying a hardcore film he watched on the internet.
He's right to object. This is an example of what we might call the "journalist's fallacy" - though in this case it's perpetrated by someone from a profession even more ignorant of statistics than journalists. I mean by this the tendency to draw strong inferences from one or two observations, without asking: are these observations a representative sample? In this example, we have a good reason to suspect not; 12-year-old rapists are rare, whilst internet porn is ubiquitous.
I call this the journalist's fallacy (though it's related to the availability heuristic) because journalists are especially prone to it - perhaps because they know that a human interest story or lively image makes for "better writing" than statistical evidence, and they mistake good writing for good thinking*.