The fact that Love Island’s Mike ‘couldn’t tell’ the girl was 16 gives a worrying insight into the culture these programmes influence
He might be unequivocally Muggy Mike, but the bouncer who let a teenager into the club takes the biscuit
First and foremost, a 24 year old man shouldn't have had sex with a teenage girl. She might have just about tiptoed into the age of consent, but emotional maturity just isn't there at 16, no matter how 'grown-up' you might think you are. He had no way of knowing, and considering the location that is a feasible explanation.
But we cannot overlook the fact a young girl was:
a) In a nightclub
b) spending the night with a man off the telly
c) acting a lot older than she is
It seems her age only becomes relevant when it comes to 'doing the deed', but isn't the fact that she's there in the first place a bigger cause for concern?
Sneaking into a club underage is hardly a new and original idea in this generation, but if I was sixteen and spending the night in a Travelodge with strangers and tweeting about my 'alleged' affair with a TV star, my parents would quite rightly have an aneurism with the shock. How was this chain of events allowed to unfold? Teenagers should be allowed freedom and independence in their formative years, but does that have to equate to snap-chatting wild nights out with a TV star? Where are the boundaries?
Suppose this girl lied to her parents, which is the most likely scenario, what is nevertheless concerning is the fact that none of the people in her life from her friendship circle even considered the fact that going out partying at 16 wasn't in the least bit concerning.
I have younger siblings, and was at secondary school myself not too long ago, and it is that same old story of peer pressure. People who are barely out of school are conditioned through shows like Geordie Shore and Love Island. They are being told that in order to get into the papers, to become notorious and in any way interesting, they need to be getting drunk and getting off with people. Their role models are not Mother Theresa or John F Kennedy, but Charlotte Crosby, who was broadcasted on national television shitting herself.
The 'popular kids' pick up and enact this trend first and foremost, and because teenagers have this innate insecurity and need for social acceptance, they go along with because the alternative is being a 'loser'. Society has actually gotten to a point where girls would rather put themselves in vulnerable situations if that means that they can avoid social alienation. Is that not a problem that needs to be addressed, through education or otherwise?
This story is about a girl who should've been thinking about college and getting on to the next stage of life, guided by a supportive network of her peers. But her developing logic was stunted by wanting to have a good snap story, and to be an insider rather than an outsider.
You'll always have girls who desperately want to seem more mature than they actually are, but stories like this surely show that this natural part of teenage development should be, at the very least, monitored. She shouldn't have to deal with the consequences of internet notoriety so young. Somebody should have stepped in.
Young people will always be influenced, but it's better for their development if it's not left entirely up to reality TV stars to raise them.