In the past kids could use the BBC's message boards to chat about their lives and their relationships. As Jana Bennett put it in 2007: We help children understand themselves and their relationships in all their rich complexity and in particular, understand their world – begin to fathom their navigation of relationships, their situation, through the experience of others whom they can relate to.
An example from CBBC's message boards was this thread about a cheating boyfriend, posted on 19 December 2008. But kids hoping to chat about romance and relationships these days will be disappointed. Because shortly after the Original Post (OP) something unfortunate happened - most of CBBC's best-liked message boards were closed without concern for those using the boards.
Kids were furious at the change, but BBC bosses refused to relent, and the BBC Trust declined to intervene. Since then things have continued to ebb, with the deliberate use of vague or deceptive language about relationships on CBBC's flagship news programme, Newsround. Look at how the Iris Robinson and John Terry affairs were belatedly reported to see what I mean (blogs on 12 Jan 2010 and 7 Feb 2010)
Jana Bennett's claim now looks profoundly hollow, as is the gesture of putting hearts in the CBBC logo: If the BBC really wants to help kids to be safe they should put back all the message boards which were removed without consultation, so that kids can once again chat and help each other safely on the CBBC website.
Happy Valentine's Day