In February 2001, Planet 3 Publishing started a new magazine for 9-12 year old girls, with the title Mad About Boys. It basically contained the contents of most other teen magazines, just for a younger audience and with younger girls.

Britain doesn't have much of a fundamentalist Christian populous, unlike America, but what Britain does have is an insane obsession with protecting children from completely nonexistant evils-cf the apparent ratio of 29 paedophiles to one child, as reported in some parts of the media.

And so, the floodgates opened.

Mad About Boys spread controversy everywhere. To be fair, a lot of this controversy was justified-there is something inherently wrong about telling 9 year olds to diet (I remember it being reported that a letter writer concerned with her weight was told "Slim down you pig" or something around that, which on the falseness scale comes just above "I did not have sex with that woman". Oh and the head of Planet 3 was called a "pimp" on live TV, which bats clean out any ideas of what is now clearly an oxymoron, journalistic integrity) but in reality the magazine was incredibly tame. Indeed, as a columnist in the Observer newspaper said, "For the average 11-to-13 year old - or, if you must, the average nine-year-old - innocence took a far bigger kicking on the day they learnt to spell Damilola."

Still, the magazine generated such flack that Woolworths refused to stock it even before the first issue had gone on sale, WH Smith followed suit and Sainsbury's were in the decision making process when the flame wars died down. Needless to say, there never was an issue two, and Planet 3 quietly discontinued the title.

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