Reviewers have to remember responsibility

At the next roundabout...follow the traffic jam!     (Shutterstock)

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The most fearsome animal is a lioness defending her cubs, as the truism goes, and that kind of dogged ferocity can be seen all over the internet with the new generation of ‘webmothers’.

We have witnessed the passion that parents in Portsmouth have displayed in defending the under-threat Sure Start centres – as seen on page 4 today – and another facet of parent power is shown in our story about the Facebook group being set up to provide recommendations about family-friendly restaurants in and around the city.

For a while sites such as the similarly-named Mumsnet and Netmums have carried a lot of clout, both politically and economically, and this being seen on a smaller scale now.

Lisa Hyatt has set up the Facebook page that she hopes will act as handy guide for families in Portsmouth.

It’s another example of technology both empowering and connecting people, and it’s great to see her drive and enthusiasm for the project.

If it means that eateries look again at what they do and raise their standards for families – and in turn possibly end up attracting more custom, then it will have played a useful role.

Just one word of warning. With publication comes responsibility, and it’s vital that Lisa, as we are sure she will, keeps a close eye on what is written. At first this is a private closed group with invited members, and so it should be possible to keep a tight rein on the contents.

But as with all social networking sites, care must be taken that one bad experience is not taken as a rule – the last thing that anyone would want to happen is for any cafe or restaurant to be unfairly criticised on the basis of a one-off bad review – it’s not fair on the proprietors. And also contributors must be warned that what they write must be fair and balanced, and any criticism must be justified.

We wish the team of citizen reviewers all the best – but remember Lisa’s words: ‘It isn’t about criticising some restaurants and cafes but about making life easier for parents.’