Latest move to fight Net porn gains support

08:24, January 27, 2010      

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Citizens have applauded the latest nationwide educational campaign to help primary and secondary school students ward off the influence of pornography on the Internet or mobile WAP sites, with many people suggesting that the authorities release more specific regulations on enforcement.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has required local education authorities to conduct regular examinations on primary and secondary school websites, as well as install filter software on school computers, according to a MOE notice that was quoted by Xinhua News Agency during the weekend.

"The move is quite necessary," said Meng Qian, an English teacher from Beijing No 17 Middle School.

"Teenagers have been exposed to a large amount of negative content, including pornography, while surfing on the Internet."

Meng said she is often shocked by the foul language used by her students that is partly caused by online pornography.

Almost every secondary school classroom in the city has been equipped with a computer connected to the Internet. Installing filter software on school computers can at least protect students from online negative content when they are at school, she said.

The teacher hoped the MOE is able to release a more specific regulation to ensure that the campaign is effective.

According to the notice, local education departments and schools are required to launch a series of classes to guide students to "properly handle the cyber world" and enhance their understanding of the negative effects of porn websites, online violence and lewd information.

Students should be taught not to make or spread lewd content online, enter profitable Internet cafes, access websites with lewd content, or play lewd cyber games, the notice said.

They were also advised not to use offensive and obscene languages and be careful in making friends on the Internet. The ministry encouraged students in primary and secondary schools to report Internet links and mobile WAP sites containing "negative information".

The notice also advocated for teachers and parents to join hands in helping children establish good Internet ethics. "Parents should not leave students alone to use the Internet and spend more time communicating with them," the notice said.

"I think the MOE's move will lower the chance of children being affected by obscene content at school. But I am wondering why there is nobody to control the thousands of unlicensed cyber cafes on the streets," said Li Wenhua, a mother from Shangrao, Jiangxi province.

Li's 15-year-old daughter was expelled from school for skipping class to play online games and chat at cyber cafes.

"I don't remember how many times I returned home after work and found my daughter absent. I checked almost every cyber cafe along the city's streets to find her," Li said.

"Education authorities mean well to initiate the campaign. But without detailed plans, how can these orders be followed?" asked Chen Qing, a Beijing taxi driver and father of a 16-year-old secondary school student.

Chen and his wife often return home very late, as they have to earn money to support the family and as such are not always able to accompany their children to use the Internet, he said.

As of last December, 32.9 percent of China's total 384 million Internet users were younger than 19, according to the China Internet Network Information Center's latest report.

The move was the central government's latest effort to crack down on online pornography to protect teenagers.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has also required both domestic and overseas PC makers to install the "Green Dam Youth Escort", a software filter to screen indecent online information, on every PC sold in China from last July. But the MIIT decided to indefinitely delay the mandatory installation after the decision drew a public outcry.

Source:China Daily
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