Readers' letters - March 1

2018's Winter Olympics an '˜unrivalled success'

Friday, 2nd March 2018, 2:23 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd March 2018, 3:25 pm
The Winter Olympics in South Korea

Great Britain’s Katie Summerhayes in the Ski Slopestyle during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are now over and already I am having withdrawal symptoms, especially with sports such as curling, skeleton and bobsleigh.It’s great that Team GB has managed to get five medals this time round. As a sporting event, Pyeongchang 2018 has been an unrivalled success and all athletes that have taken part from all countries should be applauded. I have been particularly engrossed in the curling, what an intricate sport it is, precision personified. Another winter sport I enjoyed was two and four-man bobsleigh, some may call it the Formula 1 of Winter Olympic sport. Very exciting to watch.I do hope young people will take up these sports and increase Team GB’s chances of many more medals in the years to come.Peter Keighleyvia email

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Concerns about Messenger Kids Facebook’s new Messenger Kids app, aimed at children under 13, has been the subject of controversy in America, where it is being trialled. Almost 100 US child health experts recently wrote to Facebook’s chief executive to raise concerns about its potential risks to children and called for its withdrawal.Ahead of its anticipated UK launch, an online YouGov survey for Barnardo’s of 1,000 parents has revealed similar anxieties.Ninety per cent of parents have concerns about their young children using Facebook’s new Messenger Kids service and more than half (51 per cent) would not currently let their child use it, according to the survey for Barnardo’s. More than half (52 per cent) expressed concern that the app’s security features would not be strict enough to protect their children online and 61 per cent were worried strangers could pose as their children’s friends.The app allows children as young as six to communicate via a tablet or smartphone, and send text messages and pictures.Barnardo’s services supporting young people who have been sexually exploited saw a 38 per cent rise in referrals last year. Our research shows many children who are groomed online are later sexually abused or exploited in the real world.Barnardo’s is not yet convinced by Facebook’s assertion that controls for the messaging app are stringent. Not all parents will have sufficient knowledge of the technology to keep their children safe when using the app, and it can be hard to spot if a profile is genuine or a potential danger.As our survey shows, parents are unconvinced there is a need for Messenger Kids, and we urge industry to listen to them. Please visit www.barnardos.org.uk/cse to find out more about our services to support young people or to make a donation.Lynn PerryRegional Director, Barnardo’s North WestProtecting future generations

This month (March 2018) is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – a time when charities come together to raise awareness of a terrible disease which takes the lives of 4,100 women in the UK each year. Ovarian cancer steals an average of two decades from women’s lives. Identifying the symptoms (stomach pain, bloating, feeling full more quickly, and needing to wee more frequently) is currently the best way to diagnose the disease but most symptoms present in later stages when cancer has already begun to spread. With your help, we can change this and protect future generations from the devastating effects of ovarian cancer. Launched this month, our campaign #StolenMoments aims to raise £1m to help us develop a new screening tool that detects pre-cancerous cells so that they can be removed as early as possible.This test could stop ovarian cancer in its tracks and give women more time with the ones they love.Visit www.ovarian.org.uk. Thank you for your support.Katherine TaylorChief executive of Ovarian Cancer Action