Keeping the Net clean

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 March, 2008, 12:00am

The shocking scandal about celebrities' nude pictures has shed light on a host of social issues. Among the many aftershocks, the possible effects of the scandal on the younger generation worry society the most.

Hyper Earth Rescue Team, a non-profit group dedicated to youth welfare, held a conference on March 1 to discuss how to maintain a healthy environment on the Web for young people.

Professionals from different sectors were invited to discuss the possible risks of the internet.

'The power that can be unleashed by the internet is overwhelming. Whether the power is positive or destructive depends on how users harness the tool. That's why it's of the utmost importance to teach the young proper internet manners and ethics,' said Cheung Chi-hung, principal of Yaumati Catholic Primary School.

Christopher Yu, member of the Joint Council of Parent-Teacher Association, said the concept of sharing files over the Net presented many problems. He said there's an unspoken agreement among Web users that everything on the Web is for sharing.

'Given the wide-open nature of the Net, users have to bear in mind that things said on the Web can never be taken back.'

Teresa Cheung, senior social worker with Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, said the Net had created a gap between children and their parents.

'Without a firm grasp of the workings of the Web, many parents complain about their children's indulgence in the internet and worry about online risks like virtual harassment and dissemination of unhealthy information,' she said

New technology is often fraught with risks. The key is to better harness the tool with a positive mindset.

Vice-chairman of the Internet Society Hong Kong, Edmon Chung, spelled out a list of measures, such as installing filters, which can ensure cleaner cyberspace. In addition, students need to be taught proper Web ethics.

'Respect is the key. Only through respecting yourself and others on the Web can we reap the positive benefits

of the internet to the full,' he said.

Be safe online

Practical steps to make Net surfing safer

For parents

Install filters

Put the computer in the dining room so the user's online activity is in plain view of others

For students

Do not put your personal information on the Net

Avoid posting malicious remarks or information

Avoid visiting websites of suspicious sources

Never meet up in real life with friends you meet online. You can never be sure it is safe


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Keeping the Net clean

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