Your Turn Letters to the Editor

Getting the word out about HIV

Thanks (to Mr. Hethcoat) for the very well written article “A Boy, a Girl and a Virus” (Oct.9). I understand that students have schedule conflicts and can’t get to all of the great programming that is offered at VCU, so your article allowed people to get some important information even if they couldn’t attend. I appreciate your effort on getting the word out about these facts. Nice writing.

– Linda Hancock
Assistant Director of Health Promotion, University Student Health Services

Honors module accurately portrayed

Just wanted to say thanks for the fine article on the NASCAR honors module (“NASCAR means business,” Sept. 28) that (Mr. Hethcoat) did. I think it accurately portrayed the course and objectives as well as the students’ reactions. Dr. Pitts and I appreciate your interest in the course. Perhaps you’ll want to follow up on Dr. Pitts’ spring module on the beer and wine industry – it sounds very interesting.

– R. Jon Ackley, Ed.D
Associate Professor,
Department of Management

Teens and social networking

Sk8allday80: mom keeps telling me to get off the computer. Wanna meet somewhere? I can sneak out…
Trixr4kidz: k, where do you want to meet?
Sk8allday80: a block from ur house. Wats ur address again?
Trixrkidz: 1243 Main Street
Sk8allday80: k I’ll be there soon

Scenarios like this happen too often for comfort. According to Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, 1 in 5 children has been approached sexually on the Internet. With social networking systems like MySpace, Livejournal, Facebook, America Online and numerous others, it is much easier to stay in contact with friends. It is also much easier to become victimized

“Most teenagers who post MySpace pages ‘seem to have the sense that no one is watching’ except their closest friends, says Tamyra Pierce, an assistant professor of mass communication at California State University.

Some think, “This is the Internet, who is ever going to care?”

The fact is that people do care, and sometimes for the wrong reasons.

I know you have probably constantly heard on the news about how MySpace is “bad,” and it needs to be completely done away with. I’m not saying do away with online social networking systems. I’m saying that people need to be more careful. Because teenagers are sometimes careless, parents should monitor their children when they are online and ask questions about whom they talk to. Parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of giving out information to people they don’t know and should prevent their kids from meeting anyone they interact with online at any cost. Taking these extra steps is time-consuming, but they could save your child’s life.

– Megan Osborn

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