Teachers seek tighter control over Web porn

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2008, 12:00am
 

A teachers' organisation has called for stricter control over obscene internet content and better sex education after a survey found more than 70 per cent of children 12 or younger have had access to pornography.

Nearly 30 per cent of children under 10 have been exposed to pornography. For 12-year-olds, 73 per cent said they had seen inappropriate content.

The internet was the biggest porn medium, accounting for 55 per cent of material accessible to minors, followed by newsstands at 28 per cent.

Also, the survey found that 13 per cent of respondents assumed it was legal for a minor to take part in selling obscene materials.

The Hong Kong Women Teachers' Organisation interviewed 5,355 children from 30 primary and secondary schools last month.

Mervyn Cheung Man-ping, an adviser to the teachers' group, said: 'It is increasingly difficult to block obscene material altogether from children. But we think the government and its experts should try their best to control it.'

The government should develop an effective internet filter system and strengthen law enforcement, he said.

Vincci Chow, a 13-year-old Secondary Two student, agreed the internet had become a major medium for obscene material, saying she had unwillingly been diverted to a pornographic site in the past.

However, she said her school was not helping much in the way it taught sex education, which is still a taboo subject for many.

The once-a-week lessons were either uninteresting or embarrassing, Vincci said. 'In classes, people just concentrate on their own stuff,' she said.

Mr Cheung, who is also chairman of the Hong Kong Education Policy Concern Group, said that despite criticism stretching back many years, the city still lacked a comprehensive syllabus on sex education.

Chan Yu-kwan, a Primary Six teacher, said teachers at times refrained from touching on certain topics relating to sex.

'Teachers are sometimes in a dilemma over what should be said and what not. Some parents may react to certain ideas differently and the government does not provide a comprehensive syllabus for teachers to follow.'

The teacher said that some parents were indifferent to what could be found on the internet and did not install content filters on their computers, making it easy for children to get access to inappropriate content.

In a separate survey, which interviewed 893 primary and secondary pupils in June last year, 17 per cent said they were on the internet for 15 hours or more a week.

The survey, which was conducted by Xing Qing Culture magazine, found that more than 50 per cent spent less than an hour a week reading books outside the school syllabus.

Dennis Chan Ho-yung, an editor with the magazine, said the findings showed children were easily exposed to shallow content in the media.

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