Children using the internet in schools, libraries, or commercial establishments should be banned from accessing websites with harmful content, Quezon City Rep. Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde said..
Atayde has filed House Bill 5197 that seeks to require schools, public institutions, and commercial establishments to use filtering software or devices to block harmful and inappropriate content for children.
Atayde identified the places that children frequent, which include libraries, restaurants, internet cafes, and companies.
The internet has provided unique educational and research opportunities for children, he noted. But it has also become a venue for predators and criminals targeting children, he said.
“Our children are the most vulnerable against exploitative acts and other internet-based crimes. The shroud of anonymity that the internet gives the perpetrators makes the danger to our children greater. These cybercrimes transcend jurisdictional boundaries; hence, it is even more imperative for us to establish safeguards for our youth when they use the internet,” he said in his explanatory note to the measure.
His bill defines “material harmful to children” as any communication, picture, image, graphic, recording, writing, or other matter of any kind that is “obscene or which is designed to appeal or to pander to the prurient interest.”
Also included are materials that depict, describe, or represent, in a manner patently offensive with respect to children, actual or simulated sexual acts or a lewd exhibition of the genitals or post-pubescent female breast.
Considered “harmful” as well are materials designed to entice children to “use alcohol, drugs, and other dangerous substances.”
Atayde’s bill also proposes the identification of websites that contain material considered harmful or inappropriate for children by mandating that they display a tag from the National Telecommunications Commission when they are accessed.
It likewise provides for the establishment of an Online Child Safety Council, under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, to be in charge of the implementation of this measure.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Welfare of Children. MTB