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Is it wrong to tickle a child without asking for their consent first?

8 February 2019

Russell Brand has said he’d punch the face of anyone who tickled one of his daughters. The comedian and actor confessed to feeling shame for having, in the past, tickled a friend’s child. To him, it felt like a violation of the child’s personal space.

But that’s just one person’s view. Mornings with Laura Maxwell discussed whether it’s OK to tickle a child without his/her consent with three guests: a grandparent, a feminist blogger and a neuroscientist.

Grandparent Malcolm felt it would be a great shame if immediate family members were discouraged from tickling children as it would “take the fun and happiness out of children’s lives”.

Feminist blogger Sarah believed a child should always be asked if he or she is happy with the idea of being tickled and that both boys and girls should be raised to feel they have a sense of bodily autonomy.

Can tickling be harmful?

Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at University College London, brought a scientific view to the concept of tickling.

“I suspect the only real point for tickling is to get laughter going. Laughter is an important behaviour and we need a way to get it going.”

But there are other people who share Russell Brand’s view. One of them is Jane Evans, a childhood anxiety and trauma expert:-

Is tickling harmless?

A MP has argued that tickling children against their will can lead to future dangers.

Tickling rats for a living

Professor Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University has a rather bizarre job... (From 2016)

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