Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - December 16, 2007

Keep an eye on kids' My Space

I am writing this letter to your paper despite the fact that I live in San Diego, because my daughter lives in Rock Hill and this relates to her safety and welfare, as well as the safety and welfare of all of our teenagers.

My Space presents a health and safety threat to the nation's teenagers. Through the course of monitoring my daughter's site, I've realized just how little parental monitoring must actually occur. I have witnessed promotion and boasting of the use of drugs and alcohol. I have seen young girls lying about their age and accepting as many "friends" as they can, without really knowing the identity of those friends. I've seen photos of these girls clad in their undergarments and tank tops exhibiting sexual poses. I've even seen the Internet used as a tool for emotional bullying and harassment, such as a "Pink Ribbon" campaign initiated by my daughter and her San Diego friends last year against a classmate who eventually transferred schools. Unfortunately, I've seen much of this just through my daughter's and her circle of friends' sites. I've been appalled at the apparent lack of parental supervision.

Additionally, at least once a week, I see a news story relating to My Space in which someone's health and safety have been adversely affected by dangerous My Space decisions and choices. I've seen stories on Dr. Phil about young girls befriending strangers and running off to war-torn countries to be with them. On "20/20," I saw a story of a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide after being harassed and bullied through a fake My Space account. I've seen many other stories including stories of actual pedophiles targeting young girls.

The Internet and world of My Space is not confined to a house or to a set of parents, it is the world-wide Web, and it opens the door to many dangers. It requires parental supervision and involvement, and it requires community involvement as well.

Parents have a duty, whether convenient or not, to know what is going on with their kids. Parents, whether they like it or not, are responsible for their kids' My Space behavior. Parents have a responsibility to be a parent first, friend second. If that means that your kids do not get as much privacy as they think they are entitled to, then so be it -- especially if the kid has a history of poor choices. Even when the child is a straight-A student, with no history of poor decision making skills, a parent must know with whom their child is conversing. It could save them from a life-altering decision.

I would welcome tighter legislation as it relates to minors on the Internet. I would also be willing to teach parents who are not Internet savvy on methods of monitoring their child's My Space and other Internet activities. And I would definitely be willing to educate inexperienced parents about the health and safety risks inherent in poor Internet choices.

Cindy L. Butler

San Diego, Calif.

Grinch should return Christmas decorations

On the night of Dec. 7, the Christmas decorations were stolen from the Gallant Meadow subdivision entrance sign. I have had the honor of putting the 45-foot string of garlands with lights on the sign for the past 10 years for all to enjoy, and to find it stolen saddens my heart. If someone really needed the decorations to survive, then it was worth the loss.

If it was a prank, shame on you. I will pray that God forgives those involved for tarnishing gifts offered to him during this Christmas season.

William F. Gaudian

Rock Hill

Exit really does need a cleanup

Bravo to The Herald for shining a light on the disrepair of Carowinds Boulevard. That exit is a gateway to York County and the first impression thousands of people have of our great community. The state Department of Transportation and the York County Council should be ashamed they have let the roads and buildings deteriorate and become the crime magnet it has become. Let's hope real zoning and street maintenance is soon on the way.

Tim Collie

Fort Mill

Hold parade in the morning

I agree with the recent letter written by Ms. Brantley.

The local Christmas parade never seems to have enough music. And, since the parade is at night, I, too, have a problem reading the signs. It is difficult to see the names on any of the floats and banners.

If the city is trying to get more people to come downtown, why not have the parade on a Saturday morning at 10 or 11 a.m.? That way all the entries will be seen. There may even be more entries to the parade. And, what better way to get the fine shops and restaurants downtown noticed?

Nancy Fleming

Rock Hill