Unless you live under a rock, you may have seen the show or at least heard about the Channel 4 documentary, called "Crazy About One Direction" (checks for Simon Cowell threatening a Take Down notice again).
I'm not a fan, I don't like their music, I don't find them remotely attractive.
I, however, was well into Take That back in the nineties. So, I do understand that the band are going to be beloved by girls of a certain age. Teen fandom is as old as The Beatles after all, it's nothing new.
What concerned me about the programme wasn't that the fans made themselves (and I'm sorry, it was the fans involved, not the documentary makers) look like psychos. It wasn't the lengths they will go to to follow their idols. I wasn't surprised that, in a social media driven hype world we live in, these sneaky girls (and some guys) use Twitter and Google to find out where the boys are and even what their blood types are.
What concerned me, as a Mum (who has one 6 year old One Direction liker) was where these girl's parents were.
Why were they allowed to go to a random hotel dressed way over their ages and covered in make up? Where were their Mum's when their young daughters were knocking on random hotel doors with no adult supervision?
Yes, there was a camera crew there filming them, but, if they were showing what they do regularly, then what about the times when these 13 to 17 year olds have gone, dressed up in half of Boots make up counter and dresses up their backsides, around a hotel hoping Liam or Zayn or the others may open their doors?
And what of the girls who said they have driven mad the likes of the boys families ("they think I'm a stalker but I don't care"), or given death threats to Taylor Swift? Or the one's who showed off about meeting the boys bands?
How do these parent's know what goes on if they allow their daughters to behave in this way? If they are going to hotels and being sucked in that they've been chatting to a drummer for the band- what if this is some chancer who sees a pack of screaming girls who are vulnerable, gives them alcohol and then sweet talks them with promises?
It kind of harps back to the roadie meeting groupies back in the 70s, but in a nastier way as its young girls.
To my mind, as a Mum and former boy band fan (although the most we did was wear out our Pray VHS), I would have to ask why these girls are allowed to sit in these fantasy worlds, fueled by competition, jealousy of others who get close (did you see the girl's face when the pink haired stalker one showed her cam phone pictures of her with the boys? If looks could kill sprang to mind) and Twitter? Why are their parents not saying "enough is enough", removing the mobile phones and net connections and actually policing these kids?
Where is the parental responsibility we used to have imposed?
I don't doubt, as has been screamed by the lesser psycho variant of fan, they aren't all like this (my daughter certainly isn't. I banned her listening to the shite if she got that way), but if there are those allowed to write pornographic gay stories around two members (such is their desire for no girl to touch them), or go so far as to have braces purely to copy their preferred member, the parents involved need to hang their heads in shame and ask themselves what mind they had allowing their child to behave in such a way on screen?
Channel 4 have no doubt woken up to their worst nightmare, as within minutes trending topics sprung up to distance some fans from others. Channel 4 have had to send a message to certain fans who are making threats to others, the documentary makers and other non-Direction fans. Beilibers have come out in support of god knows which side, and some fans are sick enough to lie that a number of fans (the Larry Shipper gay story maker ones) have committed suicide- although none have been confirmed, anywhere between 19 and 42 are supposed to have killed themselves down to the show, and although I don't believe a word of it, many fans do and are running with it as a way of "pitch forking" channel 4 for showing them in a less than polite fashion.
I do agree perhaps the show could have shown the fans who are a little less mental as a balanced view, but I don't doubt they would've been hard pressed to find any. I feel that showing the very worst was justified, purely to warn parent's to keep control of their kids. It certainly made me wonder what my own daughter may get up to online in the future.
Yes, we live in a world of gadgets and freedom from a younger age, but we just need to take a step back, click through the kids history, and sit them down and chat about their behaviour online. Freedom should not mean "two tweets away from Police action", after all.