Rushville Republican

October 29, 2013

EDITORIALS: Be proactive on cyberbullying; Obamacare stumbles


CNHI News Service

Be proactive on cyberbullying

(The Press Republican / Plattsburgh, N.Y.)

Parents everywhere must be rejoicing, because a new poll suggests that cyberbullying among students seems to be decreasing.

Imagine what a nightmare it is for parents to know their children are being tormented by hateful, or, at least, uncompassionate, peers?

Students have committed suicide under relentless torture perpetrated through Facebook and other social media. Those stories tear at the hearts of parents trying to guide their children through a healthy and happy adolescence.

A poll conducted recently by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV found that instances of what is called “digital abuse” are on the decline.

In addition, a movement is emerging that encourages students to not only avoid hurting feelings across the Internet, but to go to the aid of those whose feelings have already been fractured.

In truth, it’s hard to imagine a well-raised child being a party to such hurtful behavior. “Good kids” simply couldn’t believe acting so maliciously is acceptable, could they? Yet it happens on a large scale. Probably some students participate without realizing the horrible effects they are having on their classmates.

That’s where the schools and the parents come in. And they apparently are, according to the poll.

Results indicate that 49 percent of students have endured some kind of harassment from other students, down from 56 percent in 2011. And 34 percent of harassed children are going to their parents for help, up from 27 percent.

Parents must be proactive on this issue, monitoring what their own children write, as well as what is written about them.

No child should have to endure such emotional agony.

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Obamacare stumbles over the basics of signups

(New Castle News / New Castle, Pa.)

Every new program is bound to have a few glitches.

But what’s happening right now with the nation’s new health insurance program and online signup efforts is disturbing. And it creates uncertainty regarding the entire concept of health care reform.

Considering this is President Obama’s signature domestic initiative, we would have expected something constructive with the first encounter many Americans had with what’s been dubbed Obamacare. Instead, a seemingly endless stream of reports have come out regarding the inability of average Americans to sign up for the health insurance they apparently want.

We suppose that’s one point in the president’s favor. Heavy use of the health insurance signup site indicates a real demand for the program he has championed. But like anything else, demand is meaningless if it doesn’t work properly.

The good news is that there is time for the tech folks to go back in and eliminate the bugs that have cropped up to give the public error messages and frozen screens. The bad news is that this episode falls in line with the views of critics, who have attacked Obamacare from the beginning as too bureaucratic, invasive and costly.

The inability to craft a website that properly directs people to where they want to go in this day and age is an example of incompetence. And last week’s House hearings on the matter produced little more than a round of finger pointing over who is at fault. It turns out a multitude of private contractors were involved in the assembly of this system.

What’s that old saying about too many cooks?

The website debacle has given the GOP renewed ammunition in its demands to delay and/or defund Obamacare. While delays may be inevitable if people don’t have reasonable opportunities to sign up, killing health care reform remains an unrealistic option.

We continue to argue that the responsible move would be for Republicans to demand greater accountability, reliability and efficiency from the program — and be prepared to advocate future cost-saving measures if costs become real problems.

But calls to simply repeal Obamacare and replace it with some non-existent alternative won’t work. And if this reform falters, the next step is likely to be a national single-payer system. Is that what conservatives want?