Project Future delivers important message

The dangers of life for young people today have grown beyond simple missteps of youth from which recovery and an untainted life are possible.

The combination of the expected poor decision making skills of people who haven’t experienced much of life yet mixed with drugs, alcohol and the ability to destroy reputations in an instant via smartphones and the Internet is a problem that is new.

It is an issue of parenting, but perhaps even parents aren’t fully armed with the skillset yet to handle these combinations.

That’s why we think the effort by U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld of the Northern District of West Virginia is important and welcomed.

While it cannot teach the innate sense of right from wrong that should be a part of parents’ and guardians’ responsibilities to instill, “Project Future Two-a-Days” is a good effort at motivating kids to think twice before not making bad decisions.

Critics oversimplify the program as teaching young people not to telegraph their crimes via text message or Internet apps. That misses the point entirely.

Ihlenfeld not only is trying to reinforce the usual anti-drug, anti-alcohol decision-making skills but also pointing out that there is a new dimension to the potentially destructive behaviors available to teens by destroying reputations via electronic distribution.

School administrators asked for the help, and Ihlenfeld has included the social media message as part of his tour of Northern Panhandle high schools.

He’s also teaching them about what sexual assault really is, because youth have been desensitized through easy exposure on their phones and tablets to behaviors that were once considered disgusting, abnormal and hurtful.

We think the message is important and hope it resonates with a few kids at every school who hopefully can make a difference with their peers.