Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Senator seeks tighter rules vs online porn in schools

By Alexander Villafania - Inquirer

A SENATOR is calling for greater vigilance on campuses in response to reports that students have access to pornography at nearby Internet caf├ęs.

Senator Manuel Villar Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs, also expressed concern over reports that school notebooks with lewd images printed on their covers were being distributed on campuses, prior to the start of the school year in June.

"The discovery of lewd pictures recently on the cover of notebooks, that were supposed to be distributed to schoolchildren, is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Our children are still exposed to pornographic images or materials in various other media such as magazines, books and most especially the Internet which is widely accessible," Villar said.

Though he acknowledged the use of computers in schools for learning and research, Villar said schools should install pornography-blocking software and teachers should also regulate the use of the Internet by their students.

Villar has been working for the passage of Senate Bill 751, which requires schools to install software to block pornographic websites.

The bill also mandates the creation of a Student Internet Protection Task Force to enforce Internet access rules in schools.

Villar also urged tighter monitoring of video arcades and Internet cafes near near schools.

Villar also filed Senate Bill 752 that seeks to amend Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code and make it illegal the digital distribution of pornographic materials.

He filed both bills in May last year.

In a previous interview with INQ7.net, Raymond Ricafort, president of the Netopia Internet cafe chain, said the company has no direct rules against the browsing of pornographic websites, mainly due to concerns over customer privacy and free speech.

However, the company has strict policies regarding the use of computers by minors, particularly students. All branches are required to deny students entry during school hours, he said.