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BBBS director: Protecting children from bullying is everyone’s business

Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 12:08 p.m. CDT

To the editor:

When I was very young, my wise parents taught me that if I was not going to sign my name to anything I wrote, then it is best not to write it.  How I wish that adage held true today.

In our Big Brothers Big Sisters Office here in Jasper County, we use Facebook to communicate with many of our high school aged mentors for our School-Based Program. It is an easy way to communicate with many of them.  We also watch carefully to make sure that postings reflect the good character we expect of those we place to mentor younger children.  A huge majority of our mentors are above the fray.

Sadly, in watching Facebook, we see incidents of bullying and other inappropriate information all too often. The “Confessions,” “Secret Admirers” and “Compliments” pages seem to be dying down since the uproar began, which is good.  Our concern is that, even if a poster did not identify himself or herself on the page, the author(s) of the page knows exactly who submits each posting when it is initially “sent” to the page.  That leaves quite an opportunity for blackmail given the subject matter of several of the posts.  In addition, we sincerely hope that all the posters understand that, once a post is out there, it stays there for cyber eternity. Colleges and potential employers screen young people by checking their Facebook activities.

I will not enter the fray of debating First Amendment Rights, but with rights come responsibilities (and consequences).  As far as the bullying aspect of this situation, protecting children is everyone’s business!  I cannot help but believe that the world would be a safer, better place if we all had to sign our names to everything we wrote or said.

Rita Baker

Jasper County

Director

Big Brothers Big Sisters

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