Readers' letters - December 29

Youngsters need lessons about cyberspace says a correspondent
Youngsters need lessons about cyberspace says a correspondent
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Electronic messaging lessons for youngsters

Much is made of the misuse of electronics messaging by and to children.
However, nobody seems to mention how this is taught in schools.
In the old days, children were taught to read and write using paper and pencils.
Now it is essential that children are taught at that same age to communicate electronically. Some lessons:
There is an off switch.
Nothing you read on your device is true. You must check everything;
Any idiot can publish and it will be given equal prominence with real information;
It is impolite to interrupt someone speaking to answer the phone. Just as it would be impolite to interrupt someone at the table;
Bullying is just as much a nuisance on a device as it is in real life. Report it;
If it seems to good to be true, then it is;
Don’t discuss personal and private items on a device. The whole world is listening. There is no privacy, whatever settings you use;
This is the best device you will own, but also the most dangerous.
David Collins
Address supplied

A need for a social licence
Recently announced changes to workplace pension scheme rules to enable disinvestment from fossil fuel companies by trustees who wish to pursue ethical goals and invest for the future, not the past, signals an important change for the both the industry and, potentially, government policy.
While nobody would be surprised by evidence of hypocrisy by this or any government, it is reaching the point where even Theresa May might feel some embarrassment.
When I read of Pensions Minister Guy Opperman stating that “putting social value at the heart of our pensions system” and Sports Minister Tracey Crouch saying “we are committed to making it easier for people to invest in ways that reflect their values and …the issues they care about”, I immediately reflect on the need for some form of social licence when major developments are proposed.
When the Government-commissioned survey on attitudes to fracking reflects an overwhelming and increasingly negative view of this industry, anyone can see where this is headed but Mrs May seems to have got herself on the wrong side of the argument.
Yours in hope of a better future for our children.
Jim Tucker
via email

Gabon now polio-free

I am delighted to hear the news that Gabon has joined the list of countries to be declared polio-free.
The tremendous efforts made by the Gabonese government, in addition to the work that volunteers and UN workers have made, have finally paid off with
no reported or suspected cases.
Gabon’s health minister, Denise Mekam’ne Edzidzie, has pledged to continue to immunise children and prevent a resurgence of this disease.
We are so close to eradicating polio from the globe, following the smallpox triumph in 1980.
With only four cases reported in Pakistan and Afghanistan this year, we must continue to immunise and kill this terrible disease forever.
We must not forget that although there have been no new cases of polio in Gabon, many will be left suffering polio’s legacy in the form of post polio syndrome (PPS), a neurological condition that affects around 80 per cent of polio survivors.
About 120,000 polio survivors in the UK already live with PPS, and face up to eight years waiting for a diagnosis.
Without an established care pathway, they struggle to access essential treatments and benefits.
While there is no cure for PPS, there is much we can do to alleviate and manage the symptoms.
The British Polio Fellowship continues to raise awareness and offer support to those who are affected by PPS.
If you want more information, contact the British Polio Fellowship on 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
Ted Hill MBE
CEO
The British Polio Fellowship