IT SEEMS that television programmes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer are fuelling teenagers' growing interest in matters satanic and sinister.
More and more teenagers are turning to Internet sites featuring the occult for a little dark relief.
A Mori poll for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that more than half of secondary pupils admitted to some interest in the occult, while one in four said they were "very interested."
The association is worried that young people can have unsupervised access to websites promoting blood-letting, devil worship and witchcraft. Just the job for the "cybermums" army, which The Times reports is being set up to police the Internet.
There was nothing sinister but something unkind about the website set up by star pupil Michael Rhodes of Hartshead high school in Ashton-under-Lyne to enable his classmates to poke fun at their teachers.
But when he posted a message callinghis form tutor a dictator with bad breath, the website was closed down and the 16-year-old was given a police warning for harassment and expelled from the school.
An environmentally friendly school is to open in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire in September. Innovations include a porous playground through which rainwater will drain into a well and then be used to flush toilets.(Let us hope a more direct option does not occur to the pupils.) Children will travel to school in a walking bus, naturally.
Trevor Baylis, inventor of the clockwork radio, is campaigning for an Academy of Invention to represent young inventors who think someone has stolen their idea. His latest? Electric shoes that will generate enough power to charge his mobile phone. And he plans to trek across the desert in Namibia to demostrate his invention.
If only the shoes could generate enough funds to pay the bills, parents of teenagers will sigh.