Doll Cries All Night to Warn Teenagers; GIRLS GO HOME WITH A SAMPLE OF THE PERILS OF MOTHERHOOD

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Byline: TIM KNOWLES

TEENAGERS at a top girls' grammar school are being sent home with a crying doll - to deter them from becoming gymslip mums.

The doll is computer programmed to repeatedly begin crying in the middle of the night in order to bring home the realities of parenthood to teenagers.

But last night a family campaign group criticised the initiative - saying parental guidance, not gimmicks, was the solution.

The doll, which at 18 pounds weighs about the same as a three-month-old child, is programmed to cry all night, or sleep through the day, depending on how its built-in computer is set.

And if mishandled in any way the device, nicknamed Betty Boo Hoo, records the abuse for analysis.

'Betty really does make girls realise the reality of motherhood and the responsibilities that go with it' said Jane Dowie, co-ordinator of Personal and Social Education at the 1,000-pupil Altrincham Grammar School.

'Girls from the Year 10 group, aged between 14 and 15, are taking the baby home for 24 hours at a time to help them realise what is involved in looking after one. …