GRAHAM TURNER: Step up parents and do your job

A personal view
A personal view
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Hats off to Nantwich Education Partnership which this week ruffled a few feathers by announcing it will report parents to the police and social services for neglect if they allow their children to play computer games rated for over-18s .

Headteachers at the group of 16 schools in Cheshire have told parents that allowing children to play games containing unsuitable levels of violence and sexual content is tantamount to neglect and they could face action because of it.

The threat came in the same week that an NSPCC ChildLine survey revealed 10 per cent of children aged 12-13 were worried they were ‘addicted’ to online pornography.

I suspect the two are related – more or less unrestricted access to video games, social media and unsuitable internet sites can only have a negative impact on children.

There are plenty of studies that show the harm done to children by exposing them to violent games and I know from talking to people who work in schools that the effects often spill over into children’s daily lives. Nothwithstanding the long-term psychological damage, they often turn up at school too tired to work because of long hours spent playing these games and disputes, initially played out across the broadband network, are also brought into the classroom, ending in real violence.

It may seem to some parents that the Nantwich schools are being heavy handed, but I don’t suppose they have taken the decision lightly. Schools and teachers have increasingly had to take on what would have traditionally been seen as parenting tasks and roles and the line has to be drawn somewhere. It’s possibly time for (some) parents to think about their responsibilities and meet them, even if it means making sacrifices (no over-18 video games in the house, perhaps?).

-- A hefty chunk of our letters page in this week’s Bury Free Press is devoted to residents objecting to the proposed siting of a waste transfer and operational hub at Hollow Road Farm on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds. They don’t want the facility on their doorsteps – and who can blame them.

A petition is being raised against this latest plan, which only came about because of a successful campaign by residents elsewhere in the town to prevent it being built in their neighbourhood.

There’s no doubting the hub is a good idea, but surely there’s a more suitable site available which will have a minimal impact on nearby communities and without the loss of apparently very fertile farmland?

I hear there may be a largish plot becoming available at Mildenhall in the near future.

-- There’s currently an online vote going on to decide Britain’s ‘National Bird’.

David Lindo (aka The Urban Birder) has set up an alternative to the General Election.

According to David, the robin was voted Britain’s ‘favourite’ bird in the 1960s and that has not been challenged since .

I know it’s semantics, but my ‘favourite’ bird is not the one I’d choose to be our ‘National Bird’. Indeed, my favourite, the charming long-tailed tit (no laughing please) is not even on David’s shortlist, so my vote is going to the wren which, as far as I know (admittedly, that’s not very far) is the only bird other than Britannia and various female members of the royal family to have appeared on our coinage. Though only readers of a certain age will remember the farthing.

The full shortlist is: Mute swan; red kite; hen harrier; puffin; barn owl; kingfisher; wren; robin; blackbird; blue tit.

Vote at: www.votenationalbird.com/