Alan Wright - It’s an odd world in cyberspace

A story in last week’s Mail was the perfect example of how much the world has changed since my generation were youngsters.

As you probably read, the headteacher at West View Primary School made the sensible decision to remove his pupils’ accounts on the social networking site Facebook.

I’d back his judgement that youngsters under 11 years of age may well be unaware of the possibly dangerous waters they may be getting into.

While I’d consider myself reasonably computer literate, I must admit that the whole friendship through the computer world is way beyond my understanding.

On a plane trip recently, I saw the new film Social Networking, which tells the story of the trials and tribulations of the people who set up Facebook and became multi-millionaires in the process.

I’d expected to ditch the film after 10 minutes, but I’d recommend it and I proved that you don’t need to be an internet geek to enjoy it.

I wonder if I was alone in finding a comment by one of the West View parents a little sad.

A pupil’s mum was reported as saying that she would rather her son was at home on the computer rather than being outside.

She may well have a point, but it’s sad if the world has come to that.

I know that the streets have dangers too, but you do wonder about a generation which may end up only being able to converse, and make “friends”, via a computer keyboard.

Even more odd for me, the mention of West View Primary School, in Davison Drive, opened a door in my memory.

When I was a lovable little lad, my first experience of education was the Infants’ School in Miers Avenue.

Mail readers of a similar vintage might be able to confirm my memory that, in the early Fifties, the school was basically a prefab.

The day came when we were due to move to the brand new school in Davison Drive, and we did something which the Facebook generation would find pretty unbelievable.

Led by a teacher, a crocodile of us carried a pile of books each up to the new school – and we made the trip many times.

Teachers today would no doubt have to fill in dozens of pages of risk assessment forms to carry out such a task – and then be told that they couldn’t do it anyway.

If today’s headteacher Andy Brown ever needs to move school, I’m sure that it will be done in a rather different way!

The best we managed at school was passing notes around the class without the teacher seeing us – and we would have thought Facebook was a science fiction idea.