Readers' letters - January 30

Mary Whitehouse
Mary Whitehouse
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Feeding us violence makes society even more violent

Every day we are forming opinions and attitudes built on what we see around us.
The biggest influence and input that we are exposed to is television – the “stranger” in everyone’s lounge and, to a large extent, bedroom. What we see and hear from it influences our behaviour, attitudes to others, and our spirituality.
Over the years, we have seen boundaries of decency and behaviour pushed further and further back, resulting in acceptance of issues that would have been strongly objected to by the mass of society 30, 40 and 50 years ago.
Television and its offspring of modern technology – the computer, mobile phones etc – has succeeded in not only dumbing down society, which has been influenced by its bad language and violence, but also been responsible for the breakdown of communication (especially with families whose TV is literally never switched off).
It is the insidious perpetrator responsible for a crumbling, spiritually starved society, doing a brilliant job of destroying our greatest asset – our minds.
It has desensitised us to the point of total annihilation of our finer feelings.
Love, compassion, humility, kindness, sympathy, generosity and reaching out to others has been wiped out by TV’s daily
diet of self-indulgence,
violence, cruelty and sexual
images, and society will continue to spiral downwards until this huge matter is seriously tackled, and we return once more to the line of moderation in all that we view on TV.
It has caused a national tsunami of mental illness, but we haven’t the professionals to deal with it. Wake up, folks! Mary Whitehouse was right – feed violence to society, and you get a violent society!
Mrs J
Address supplied

Grandchildren and digital safety

Around 10 million grandparents in the UK support the day-to-day care of children.
Children have grown up in a digital world and, given half a chance, will spend hours on their tablets or phones.
Some grandparents may feel they are out of their depth when it comes to technology, but more than ever, children need a guiding hand to stay safe.
Grandparents and their grandchildren have a special relationship, and we want to give grandparents the confidence to take care of children as they explore the online world. It can be a wonderful place of connection, entertainment and creativity, but there are dangers.
The good news is you don’t need to be a digital expert to help keep children safe:
1. Be interested in what your grandchildren are doing online: ask them to show you how it works, the games they are playing, what they like to watch and who they enjoy talking to.
If the people seem a bit too old, the games or films too scary or brutal, or your child is sharing too much with strangers – gently say so.
Trust your instinct.
2. Negotiate boundaries: for example, limit time on the internet, and check that the games and apps are age appropriate. Coax them to spend time with you offline playing games or going for a walk. It’s these times they will remember.
3. Let them know you are there for them. If anything they read, see or hear online worries or scares them, you have a lot of life experience and will try to help.
4. Try using apps and social media yourself – ask your grandchild to show you how!
5. Look out for signs that your grandchild is unusually sad or withdrawn, or seem anxious or upset.
Let them know they can tell you anything.
To learn more or get help, visit www.kidscape.org.uk
Lauren Seager-Smith
Chief Executive Officer, Kidscape

Calling farmers for bird count

The time has arrived to dust down your binoculars and start birdwatching, as the Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) is back for the fifth consecutive year.
Farmers, land managers and gamekeepers are being urged to circle Friday, February 9 to Sunday, February 18 in their diary for the count, which is run by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). Many farmers and gamekeepers love to see barn owls, bullfinch, lapwing, grey partridge, tree sparrow and yellowhammer on their land – the BFBC is an opportunity to tell the wider world about the birds on farm.
It takes just 30 minutes to take part in the count.
The Big Farmland Bird Count is a wonderful opportunity for citizen science being carried out by farmers to demonstrate the range of
species that depend and live on British farmland during the winter months.
At the end of the count, the results will be analysed by the Trust. All participants will
receive a report on the national results once they have been collated.
Visit https://www.gwct.org.uk/farming/big-farmland-bird-count/taking-part-in-the-count/
Joel Holt
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust