As the generational divide deepens, it makes sense for the older generations to stake their claim now, while they have the power of the state on their side. Aside from handing out more than 10,000 Asbos (Antisocial Behaviour Orders, a cross between a human parking ticket and the sort of condemned notice you sometimes see on the walls of derelict buildings), the petty misanthropy that bans hoodie-wearing teenagers from shopping malls, forces parenting classes on failing single mums, and allows 79 percent of police forces to impose curfews on children, comes easily to a nation that thought up the idea that its young should be seen and not heard. But never before have we put them under this degree of surveillance while simultaneously turning a blind eye to our adult responsibilities. Satellites track their phones, marketeers groom them on cyberspace, police add the DNA from 600 innocent children a week to a 50,000-sample database, while libraries fingerprint them to borrow books – all linked by rafts of new childhood databases joining the dots. In an age of hyper-individualism we are recoiling from the very children we have created. Monitoring is not enough, we must be protected from them.