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PIA Press Release

Benguet mulls child-friendly internet café ordinance

by SC Aro

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (28 September) -- As the cyberspace for information technology is coming into play, it has also become a medium for pornography, violence and harmful gaming where children at an early age are already exposed. This has prompted the province to consider passing a measure to regulate the operation and services of internet cafes and similar establishments for the protection of children.

Sponsored by Board Member Juan Nazarro, Jr., proposed Ordinance Number 124-07 otherwise known as the "Child Friendly Internet Café Ordinance" is being deliberated upon by the provincial board for second reading.

It states that the province is also a Child Friendly Province that has the power, duty and responsibility to protect children from the negative consequences of unregulated use and access of the internet in internet cafes and other similar establishments.

More so, as it recognizes the important role of private establishments, the provincial government as provided for in Section 16 of the Local Government Code has its duty and power to promote the general welfare which encompasses children's welfare.

Children as defined in the proposed ordinance are those who are below 18 years old.

Provisions of the measure are additional requirements in securing renewal of business permits or license to operate such establishments like as prohibition against installation of private cubicles or rooms, posting of internet safety and/or cyber ethics principles, content control, reporting procedure, internet user's logbook, internet user's conduct, special protection for child internet user, and no smoking and consumption of alcoholic beverages policy.

Contents of the internet safety rules and cyber ethics principles in internet café establishments as one of the provisions of the ordinance to safeguard children in the use of the internet are as follows:

Ask your parent or caregiver first if you plan to meet with someone you've met in the internet. It should always be in a public place. Report to parent, caregiver, local area network or ISP of any bad language or distasteful picture while oneline. Be yourself and not pretend to be anyone you are not. Do not tell anyone you meet online your home address, telephone number or school's name. Do not send anyone your picture, credit card or bank details. Do not give your password to anyone, even your best friend. Do not hang around a chat room if someone says or writes something which makes you feel uncomfortable or worried. Do not respond to nasty, suggestive or rude e-mails or posting in UseNet groups. If someone makes you an offer, which seems too good to be true, it probably is.

There is also a provision for the prosecution of cases to ensure the effective implementation of the Ordinance.

Another provision is the information campaign of concerned government entities on safety on the internet and child pornography, cyber ethics, and other similar protective behaviors. (PIA-Benguet) [top]

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