Leader: ‘The problem is too widespread to be ignored’

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EVERY parent worries at one time or another about the possibility of their child being bullied.

Tales of chatroom threats and abusive texts make it all too easy to get paranoid about the risks youngsters face on their mobile phones and home computers.

Yet there is no doubt that cyber bullying is too widespread a problem to be ignored.

Research by the NSPCC suggests that 38 per cent of children and young people have had to endure it at some point.

In the very worst scenarios it can lead to youngsters running away and even committing suicide.

The unpleasant truth is that new technology has made bullying more sinister, making it easier for the perpetrators to remain anonymous and target their victims wherever and whenever they like.

And it is not an easy problem for parents to deal with. Some are put off by the slang and acronyms which make it hard for the uninitiated to tell what is going on in online chat.

But those barriers have to be overcome because we cannot rely on teachers, however vigilant, to spot when things go wrong.

Fortunately many excellent resources are readily available to help parents, including those produced by the Edinburgh-based Anti-Bullying Network.

At the same time, arming our children with the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe has got to be a good thing.

They are the ones who are the masters of new technology and the ones who are always going to be on the frontline when it comes to protecting themselves.

Not put to bed yet

IT is a shame at a time when the city’s finances are under such great pressure that the idea of a tourist “bed tax” is being ruled out.

The pound or two it would have added to hotel bills would have been so small that most people would not have objected to paying.

Yet at the same time it had the potential to raise up to £10 million a year to help support our crucial tourist industry.

But despite appearances today, don’t expect this to be the final word on the matter.

We know Alex Salmond is not keen. Is it possible that pressure from the SNP Government has led party colleagues at the City Chambers to bury any plans ahead of May’s local elections?

One way or another you can be sure that this is an idea which will come back again and again.