Public Information Films from the 1970s and 80s: controlling with mis-advice

Delivered in an authoritative voice that didn’t invite criticism of the ridiculously nonsensical panic-inducing paradigm, they were all about putting the responsibility of a potentially harmful situation onto one person (the mother, or the child, or the car driver depending on which scenario they were trying to control).

In “Public information film – children must not be let out of doors alone…”, for example, the mother is diagnosed as at fault, despite the fact that several people are involved. If the cars parked on the street weren’t there, the boy would have clearly seen the car driver. If the car driver had been alert, he would have seen the boy run from the house to the road and could have slowed right down. If the mum and dad had valued their child’s intelligence they could have had a conversation with him about the dangers of parked cars and moving cars and asked him to use his initiative instead of mollycoddling him and making every decision for him, thus turning him into a rule following zombie.

Rant over.


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