• Editorial: How Can We Protect Young Fans?

    Two weeks ago, the fandom at large was made aware that a prominent member of the analyst community allegedly engaged in predatory, pedophilic behaviours with young girls. I'm sure you're aware.

    In the aftermath of this, we find ourselves trying to deal with our disgust, hurt, fear, disappointment, and anger in any number of ways towards ToonKriticY2K, which is necessary and pertinent.

    But one question we all want addressed is how we can better protect the younger fans in and around this community.

    As we slowly move on from our initial feelings, I think this is a vital part of constructively dealing with not only any grief and anger in the moment, but preventing these incidents from happening again as much as we can.

    I'm going to continue this conversation others have started in the hopes that we'll find some realistic, workable solutions.

    I want to start this off by making it clear that the brief post released on ToonKritic two weeks ago was an Equestria Daily as a whole news bulletin, and this is my personal editorial on an issue relating to it. Other staff members have their own opinions.

    Now that we're clear, we can begin, which is good, because we have some brainstorming to do. And make no mistakes, this is brainstorming. Please share your opinions, that's the point of this post. I don't pretend to have the answers.

    We all wish we did, and much, much sooner.

    Forgiveness: Dr. Wolf's Statement (And Others)

    I wanted to make a note of this because I think we really need to make a distinction. If you haven't seen Dr. Wolf's statement on ToonKritic, he explains his feelings and says it's better to forgive for our own sake in order to move on.

    Which may be helpful for those who felt betrayed by someone they thought was a friend, but not to the victims themselves.

    When it comes to sexual abuse, which pedophilia of this nature would classify as easily (even if it was online/not physical), forgiving the abuser isn't a goal of clinical therapy. In fact, having dealt with loved ones who've been abused myself, I know how important it can be to recognize abuse as what it is: something terrible, so the victim knows they're not imagining it, or making a bigger deal of it than necessary.

    Suri's terrible, Coco. It's okay to acknowledge that.
    For the victims' sake, even as we deal with our own feelings on the matter, I think we should focus on the existence of pedophiles within the fandom as a real problem.

    And it is a problem. This silly pony show we've all found something special in is for all ages, and that's always going to mean young fans will be vulnerable to the predators hiding in the masses of well-meaning, harmless older fans.

    The next question that reflexively pops up is: Is that an issue for us to handle?

    The "The Parents Should Do It" Argument

    In the internet-age (to use a dated term), parents have a lot more to protect their children from than ever before.

    So I think the knee-jerk reaction to something like this is to say the parents should've done more, or should somehow police who their kids and teenagers talk to on their internet.

    And, look, while I absolutely hold parents accountable, being a 2000s kid myself born and raised on the internet I know it's impossible for parents to protect against everything, especially when their kids become teenagers. I doubt teenagers are going to have parental blocks on their Skype and Discord chats.

    Parents do hold a lot of responsibility to protect their kids, but can't do everything, and we're not the younger fans' parents, nor should we try to be.

    All the same, in this case, saying we don't have a role in protecting them is also saying we don't care to try. So, what can we do?

    Well, I thought about injecting my own opinions here on things like censorship, but at this point, I think I should pass this question onto you. Even if we make the fandom a safer place for kids and kick the pedophiles where it hurts, we can't control for everything, so what do you think we can do about it?

    Standing together on the issue of pedophilia is still hugely important, especially when we have victims currently in the fandom who've suffered at the hands of someone famous, perhaps at one time even beloved in the fandom. Not to mention countless others unrelated to the alleged ToonKritic situation (I say "alleged" for legal reasons, not because I don't believe the proof).

    If we care, as a fandom, about protecting young fans, we should do something to show we care, which starts at the very least with a conversation.

    This is a complex issue, and has been for years, but I have to believe we need to start somewhere. So let's talk about it openly. And, of course, urge everyone to report any behaviour of this nature they know about when it arises.

    That way, hopefully we can use this horrible case as motivation to prevent others like it. 

    Marvel's Blog: Here