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20th June 2014 at 01:00

All that glitters is not gold

On reading the thought piece "Internet glitterati" in last week's edition, I winced at this comment from Beverley Briggs: "Teenagers like worshipping things. That's what makes them a pushover for religious cults, One Direction and the Scottish National Party."

At first I thought this was a flippant and fatuous comment and one that was terribly patronising towards the very many young people in our schools who will be engaging with the debates around independence in a confident, committed and responsible way. I imagined the author of this piece secretly sniggering at her charges: "Right, class, I know that last week we discussed the developing narrative of cyberbullying as a political weapon by Better Together but, more to the point for you guys, who's cutest - Harry or Niall?"

A couple of weeks ago, TESS focused on the Scottish independence referendum with a number of links to some very useful resources ("Reel engagement with referendum", 6 June). These resources will no doubt be used by thoughtful and skilled teachers to help further develop the critical thinking of our young people around such significant contemporary issues.

Is it possibly the case that Beverley Briggs' piece (which smacked of a no-country-for-old-men attitude to digital technology) was deliberately included so that our young people could use their developing critical skills to discuss and deconstruct the conditions, and the motives, that allow such attitudes to be published in a well-respected professional publication?

Our young people deserve more respect than this.

Derek Robertson

Lecturer, University of Dundee

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