Saturday, December 20, 2008

CBBC Bullying message board closure

I notice that CBBC announced last night that their Bullying message board, mentioned in my blog on 12 December 2008, is to close on Monday 'as part of improvements' to the site (screen image). The reasoning is opaque at present, especially in the light of the BBC Director of Vision, Jana Bennett's words last year, shortly before a substantial amount of growing up advice was removed from the website (see blog on 28 August 2007). Some other message boards closed down a few days ago and caused dismay. For example, this message from sockscat (message 23):

I really don't like it to be honest. All the boards me and my pal Ultracutecat used to always go on are away, in fact the only one that is the same is In the news which we never went on! I am speaking for two because it was cutie (which is Ultracutecat's nickname by the way) that mentioned it too me in the first place. The reason I joined the boards when I became a member was because there was so many boards and now there is only five! Plz mods or Cbbc change it plz im begging! The biggest loss to me is the Creative writing board,animal and the sound off!

is just one message out of about 350 so far, most of which are unhappy with the changes.

On the positive side the BBC has begun a new Ask Aaron message board. As the BBC puts it: there is a brand new Ask Aaron board for the time being. (my italics) This Ask Aaron board says it's 'the place to Ask Aaron about anything and everything that's happening in your life!'

As I've said, there is strong statistical evidence that the Bullying message board, which is now closing down, discriminated against LGBT kids. So I'll continue to keep my eye on the BBC - not just on the new message board - to see whether folks are being treated fairly by the Corporation. Three years ago, on 21 December 2005, Newsround's failure to report the introduction of civil partnerships proved to be the last straw, as far as I was concerned, and led to the start of Newsround Blog.

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