NORMALLY I enjoy Pat Kane’s erudite observations on most topics of current interest, however on this occasion I have to ask him “What planet are you on, Pat?”

Oddly the final paragraph of is latest column (School bans on our kids’ smartphones may rob them of digital evolution, Dec 2) is a convenient starting point: “Perhaps we adults should concentrate more on cleaning up our own systematic messes first – for their [ie the kids’] sake.”

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Exactly Pat! What your article does not address is the terrifying and immoral influence which social media has over our young people.We have had cases of children actually committing suicide because these sites are available telling them how do just that.

Last week a mother reported to the press that her daughter had been beaten up on a bus taking her to school and other kids filmed this and posted it on TikTok and it subsequently went viral in the school. Children have also been encouraged to post sexually explicit pictures of themselves and been blackmailed, which has also led them to take their own lives.

Big Tech and social media companies need to be held to account by financial penalties and legislation and in spite of employing armies of so-called “moderators” this is not happening. Greed triumphs over ethics.

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He must also be aware of the rapid deterioration of behaviour in our primary and secondary schools. Jenny Gilruth Education Secretary has called for a summit of educational professionals to address the problem. As someone who has taught in schools, the persistent low-level of disruption caused by mobile phones being surreptitiously used under desks can be intolerable when trying to teach a class. Moreover, when challenged many pupils can become extremely aggressive.

A “phone-in” last week on Radio Scotland’s Mornings programme told of teachers of 20 years’ experience now leaving the profession as well as disillusioned probationers who were not able to deal with some classes because of verbal and physical abuse.

Of course the majority of pupils try to be well-behaved and wish to learn, but there is a growing sizeable minority who are becoming increasingly disruptive with little or no consequences for their bad behaviour and not all these young people have additional support needs.

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The days when you were roaming the universe in your bedroom in your virtual romantic world have long since gone, Pat.

Don’t believe me? Then perhaps you should spend a day teaching (not as a celebrity guest) with six different classes a day in one of our schools.

How challenging would that be?

Jim Park

I WISH to commend Caitlin Logan’s Wednesday article, “Some celebrities need reminding that human rights are for everyone” (Dec 6). Clearly she is absolutely correct when she says,“There is no ‘them and us’ when it comes to human rights”. She is also correct when she highlights “our individualistic and hyper-capitalist times”. These are the days of “It is my right” and “Why should I?”

This underlines the fundamental flaw in the concept of rights. While the idea is sound, rights are enshrined in law and laws can defeat their aim. Whose rights are most important, yours or mine? If there is a conflict, whose rights are superior? This is where the whole notion falls apart.

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There is an alternative to demanding our rights, and that is giving people the same standards of respect and care we would expect to receive. This would mean that in dealing with one another we would be kind, not jealous or rude. We would not seek our own interests at the expense of others. We would not hold a grudge against anyone but would be prepared to forgive.

The Greek word for this is agape. It is something to give, and a principle that the world would do well to seek to acquire.

I do not expect this letter to be published because I come from a Christian perspective and that puts me at a disadvantage to the voices of those who see any reference to God as somehow infringing their rights. I actually respect people of all faiths and none. I believe it is a necessary to reintroduce the idea of agape in this debate because the present world order is not working.

Mistakes were made in the past in the name of religion. Today the same mistakes are being made in the name of the irreligious. Fundamentally it is people, whatever their beliefs, who have to change if we are going to bring peace into the world, our societies, and our families. Peace be with you.

Angus Shaw
via email

HAS anyone asked the Rwandan people what they think about the UK dumping a load of foreigners in their country? Sounds like one of Baldrick’s cunning plans. Britain has previous regarding this sort of thing – Israel swiftly comes to mind!

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Let’s hope parliament or the Supreme Court throw this in the bin and we start treating refugees and asylum seekers with respect and meet our existing international obligations.

Angus Ferguson