Thursday, 19 July 2012

Growing concern over ‘internet café’ in Mambulao

Inside an I-Café …. Children spend too much time playing video games …


THERE is a growing concern among parents over the proliferation of the so-called ‘internet café’ in Mambulao – both in town and some out-of-town baranggays.

‘Internet café’, or computer shops have grown in number since three years ago with the coming of internet service providers (ISPs) and internet broadband links provided by the three cell phone companies namely Smart, Globe and Sun.

Parents have complained that many schoolchildren and high school students are cutting classes to spend time at computer shops for online games and to browse game websites and Facebook accounts.

They said their school pocket money is being spent on online time instead of using it for snack foods at school.

But a number of said young clients are also doing researches for their school works.

Some parents said many teachers, including those in elementary and primary schools, have become “too sophisticated” in their taste for submitted school projects.

“Many teachers want their students to submit their reports in living color … and only computer shops could produce color printouts.”

Concerned residents of Mambulao have asked whether said computer shop operators have proper business permits or business license to cover their activities.

While some parents said minors should be banned from computer shops during school hours, others have argued that said shops are legitimately being operated and therefore should not be deprived of their rights to do business and earn.

A big bulk of clients are minors – elementary schoolchildren and high school students – and banning them for most of the business hours would be unfair, according to pro-computer shop parents.

It has been suggested that concerned parents and municipal authorities should sit together to take up the problem and come up with a solution without depriving the shops of their right to do business.

Basically, all this boils down to one thing: a child’s discipline, which usually reflects on his parents’ ability to do proper parenting, one observer said.

A website has proposed the following for parents and LGUs concerned to consider:
• No entry during school days – This is the strictest rule being implemented by some LGUs. This means that no children are allowed inside café premises from Monday to Friday. Children can only go to an internet café on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays either to play games or do their assignments where they need to make research on the internet.

• No Entry During School Hours – A more common provision on many local ordinances, this one prevents entry of school children to Internet cafés from say 7am to 6pm or even up to 9pm depending on school schedules in an area. Under this rule, school children can play games or make their homework inside computer shops in the evenings (until before curfew time) and on weekends only.

• No entry during class hours – While there are just few LGUs that impose this rule on their ordinances, this is the ‘win-win’ situation for both the school children and the café owners. 

Under this regulation, school children can enter computer shops to do their assignments and homework or play games as long as it is not their class hours (normally classified as morning, afternoon or evening class). 

It may be a little difficult to monitor compliance to this rule. The school and other local authorities have to coordinate closely with the internet café owners regarding the class schedules of the children.

• No entry for children in school uniforms – This should be a ‘must’ on any local ordinance regulating the entry of school children to Internet cafés. Having school children wearing uniforms inside a café will not only give bad image to their schools but also to the Internet café allowing such. Anyone who sees school children wearing their uniforms inside Internet cafés will readily have the impression that those young café customers skip their classes.

The blogger said these are the existing regulations in different areas that some LGUs who do not yet have or in-process of amending their local ordinances may consider. 

“I suggest that Internet café owners seek ways to present the best options to their local legislators. 

"Having a thorough discussion on the issue can go a long way in having a fruitful co-existence of schools and Internet cafés in any locality,” he said.

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