A senior High Court official is suggesting that children should not be allowed to have a Facebook page before age 13.
This advice to parents from Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne as she delivered remarks at the graduation ceremony for students of the Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School who participated in the D.A.R.E programme.
Cooke-Alleyne, a former juvenile court magistrate, not only told parents about the age when their children should join the popular social media site; she also urged them to then monitor the online activities of their charges.
Cooke-Alleyne explained that this monitoring was a part of keeping the doors of communication open with children through maintaining sound relationships and staying up to date with whom their friends were.
“Make sure you are one of their friends on Facebook and check to see what they are doing and who they are talking to,” the court official suggested.
For a period of 10 weeks, the Wilkie Cumberbatch students were provided with the necessary knowledge and skills to help them to make safe and responsible choices in relation to the use of drugs, alcohol and other societal issues.
According to Cooke-Alleyne, many juveniles who come before the court have taken drugs. She said they may not be at Court for a drug charge but their use of marijuana, the most prevalent illegal drug, may have contributed to their delinquency.
“Children, I DARE you to always say ‘no’ to drugs, I DARE you to choose good friends. I DARE you to succeed in your goals. I DARE you to be the best you can be,” she said.
Sergeant Roland Cobbler of the Royal Barbados Police Force, who is in charge of the programme, indicated that in the course of his daily duties he encountered a number of young people who openly admitted to drug use.
He regards this as a worrisome trend since the increasing prevalence of drug use and its associated anti-social behaviours, have the potential to threaten the stability of our society.
“In this era where some of our young people are being easily influenced by the drug culture, it is important that our children are educated about the dangers of drugs. You, the parent, must understand that you have a supportive role to play in this process. It is important that you set good examples and reinforce the importance of positive values,” Sergeant Cobbler said.
To the graduands, Sergeant Cobbler stressed that he had seen many successes of the DARE programme. He urged them to see themselves as ambassadors of the programme and to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to educate others.