Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
PORTMORE, St Catherine:
TECHNOLOGY MINISTER Phillip Paulwell has issued a stern warning to online predators who target children.
He will be among the delegates who will be lobbying the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to pursue legislation, as part of a global effort to make the Internet safer for children, at the historic World Conference on International Telecommunications, December 3-14 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
"There are some adults who use it (the Internet) to try to lure especially children towards practices that are not good, that are not wholesome, and we are going to at the ITU conference, establish some regulations, criminalise certain activities, so that those adults who go on the Internet ... we are going to find them, and we are going to bring them to justice," Paulwell told the audience at the official opening of the school and community cyber centre at Greater Portmore Primary School last Thursday.
"We are going to come away with an international agreement because the Internet is international, because the predators can be here in Jamaica, they can be any where in the world," he stressed.
At the same time, Paulwell said parents and teachers had a responsibility to ensure that children were exposed to information that would enable them to perform better in schools. Likewise, he argued that while it was important for the students to become computer literate, it was equally critical that adults follow suit.
"If we are going to try to create a knowledge-based society, then we have to start with our youngsters, but we also have to make sure that those older persons among us in the communities also are able to understand, to learn to appreciate and to use the technology that is fast becoming a part of our daily lives," said Paulwell.
In this regard, chairman of the school board, Aneita Lee, urged parents to take advantage of the new facility, so they better assist their children.
"With the global economy, we need to ensure that students who we are training can fit into the world's market and in so doing it doesn't make sense our children are trained, and when they get home, they can't converse with their parents, or peers in the community, so we are also encouraging parents to come in to the cyber centre and learn how to use the computer," Lee said.
An elated but humble principal, Maxine Thomas, told The Gleaner that plans were being finalised to host training sessions for community residents.
"We are putting plans in place to have sessions to teach persons to be computer literate. We are going to open from 3 o'clock. They will be asked to contribute a small fee," Thomas explained.
Nekeisha Bolton was among a group of enthusiastic parents who were on hand to share in the occasion. "I am very pleased. I think it's a really good move, not just for Greater Portmore Primary School, but also the entire community," she noted.