Sorry Michele Mandel, but your latest Toronto Sun column has failed to sway me with its “blame-it-on-the-manishness.” Mandel tells the tale of a concernedScarborough mom looking to place the blame on anyone but her 15-year-old son, who lied about his age to rack up over two-thousand bucks in phone-sex charges. “One day he called eight times,” says Tracey Lauren, 40. “Clearly this was not an accident. He kept calling back.”
And while she says she “yelled a lot” at her teenage phone-sex fiend, Lauren doesn’t want the buck to stop there. “She’s blaming everyone from the phone company to the chat line and even the police for not doing anything to protect her son.” Granted, underage kids shouldn’t be having phone sex any more than they should be looking up porn on the internet—but just as porn sites have the token “I assure that I’m at least 18 years of age” screen that users must click through to get to the good stuff, I’m assuming that Quest and Lavalife Voice have something similar. Even if the horndog on the other end of the line is lying about his age, by providing (false) consent, he’s essentially stating that he knows what he’s getting into—eight times a day, in this case. Short of eyeball scans or asking for a social security number (which would open a much bigger can of worms), there’s really nothing more adult content providers can—or should—do. At least not inCanada, anyways.
According to Mandel, “In theU.S., obscene entertainment can’t be provided to callers under 18, even if the underage caller requests it. The penalty is $50,000 for each incident and up to six months in jail.” Which sounds great, in theory, but how do they go about enforcing it? Then again,Americais the land of the Patriot Act, so perhaps I don’t wanna know—though I’d imagine Vic Toews might be placing a collect call to his American counterpart right about now…
Up here, the cops have told Lauren that “there’s been no crime committed because my son lied and said he was 18.” AndRogershas blocked the phone number in question, though, as the concerned parent states, there are “thousands” of other lines that her son could possibly call.
Here’s some food for thought, though. If your son’s having underage phone sex eight times a day, maybe going to the media isn’t the best way to solve this problem. While the 15-year-old isn’t named in the article, any kids at school who’ve seen his mom and read the Sun (okay, let’s face it, kids don’t read newspapers nowadays, but maybe their parents still have a subscription) would be able to put two-and-two together. Either Little Johnny Spanxalot will be teased a lot—or he’ll be passing on some hot tips to his classmates, Risky Business-style, all as a direct result of this article. Way to go, Mom!