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Playground Perv Potential - A Rant

The other day, while we were out visiting the neighborhood kiddie playground, I noticed this:

Not this *exact* pole, but one that looks exactly like it
Actually, what I noticed were the 7 year-old girls playing on it, spinning with their legs up and open in a V formation while gripping the bar with their hands, then leaning their heads back and stretching out a leg and an arm while rotating around the pole with one foot and one arm.  It shocked me, mostly because the only time I've seen moves like that are on Law & Order: SVU when the plotline involves a pole dancer.  These were young girls, who (I want to believe) have no idea what pole dancing is, and were simply having fun navigating their bodies around this spinning piece of playground equipment.

However, I am not so naive as to think that I would be the only person who noticed that this pole looks a lot like a stripper pole, and that the little girls spinning on it like that could potentially attract some very sick people, even though these girls were in no way trying to be provocative.

Full disclosure: I worked for the Feds once upon a time, and in my psych intern position I helped co-facilitate some sex offender group therapy programs, as well as assist my boss in doing file reviews on the hundreds of sex offenders in the system.  I've read and heard it all.  I have a bias and a sensitivity towards being over-protective, mostly because I know the recidivism rates for sex offenses are high and the things that seem innocuous to us are actually "triggers" for sick pervs, causing them to start thinking bad thoughts and going down a spiral that leads to re-offending.

I'd say that this piece of playground equipment is one such trigger.

Not a stripper pole
Seriously, who in their right mind thinks that this is the best way for kids to play on the playground?!? There are *other* kinds of spinning equipment that children can play on, that do not allow for that sort of movement that might look eerily similar to the moves that pole dancers use.  What kind of dumba$$ designed the spinning pole for kids?!

And yes, I know I'm being overparanoid here.  And I know that most kids don't make such moves on the spinning pole.  And there aren't boogeymen lurking behind every bush.

However, I also know that most sex offender parolees have a condition to stay many many metres away from playgrounds, schools, and other areas where children play.  And many of them don't really follow this condition.  And in a public park, on a playground that is not shielded from the view of people standing 100m away, there is absolutely that potential for some sicko to be watching, and thinking inappropriate thoughts.

So I am not taking any chances.  Little L will not be playing on that piece of equipment when she's older, and we will take her to alternate playgrounds where such stupidly designed contraptions don't exist.  A little overboard? Maybe.  But the stakes are high and it's my job to protect my baby from the sick awful people in this world.

Grr.  Sometimes the world annoys me much.


Kitten said…
Interesting fact -- I never thought it looked like a stripper pole and the engineering design of it means that it turns more easily than your second example. It might very well be a naive (like me) engineer that created it.

I don't very often think about what people think of my children when they are out and about playing. Maybe that'll change with my daughter? They have these spinners at the most popular public and free park playground in Philly so that's how I know of them.
Thankfully we have a 'toddler' park close by, but when we go to other parks some of the equipment looks like torturing devices missing handcuffs! Who designs this stuff?

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