Comment: Pink acne lights may humiliate young people
Thursday 7 May 2009
Adolescence is a time when many young people
feel self-conscious and insecure about their appearance, and skin
problems such as acne can bring an additional element of discomfort
to those affected.
It is disturbing, therefore, to learn of the installation of
pink lighting, similar to that used by dermatologists to show up
blemishes and acne, by a residents' association in Mansfield. The
lights, installed at public areas where young people gather, are
designed to deter their presence. The chair of the association
leading the initiative claims that the pink, potentially "uncool"
colour of the lighting is intended as the deterrent but in fact
these devices may breach articles within the European Convention on
Human Rights, which is now part of our domestic law.
The initiative, which was launched in consultation with
Nottinghamshire Police, clearly considers young people to be a
nuisance and contributes to a culture of mistrust between
generations. Just like Sonic Teenager Deterrents, or "mosquitoes",
it is symptomatic of a wider approach taken towards Britain's young
people, who are increasingly marginalised and pushed to the edges
of society rather than treated as valuable members of their
A much more positive approach to the issue of large groups of
young people congregating in public areas would be a genuine
investment in creating local spaces for young people to meet and
socialise, and to learn about community participation. Teaching
children and young people about their role in building future
communities has never been so important. Young people are not only
the future; they are part of our present and should have the same
rights as everyone else. They should be treated with respect, not
with contempt and not banished from public areas to perhaps retreat
to less safe places.
Janine Young is NCB's children and young people's participation