Educate youngsters about the ethical conduct to be adopted when using the Internet
Asked by : Hon SIN Chung-kai
Replied by : SEM
Will the Government inform this Council whether any measures are in place to encourage schools and the organizations concerned to educate youngsters about the ethical conduct and correct attitude to adopt when using the Internet, and to caution them against illegal Internet activities; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
The Government recognises the importance of helping young people develop a positive attitude and ethical conduct in using the Internet. Indeed, this is one of the "Information Technology (IT) Learning Targets" for primary and secondary students launched since the 2000/01 school year.
All primary students have to take a "Computer Awareness Programme" which aims to cultivate a positive attitude (for example, respecting intellectual property rights, copyright and privacy) in using the Internet. As for secondary students, four IT-related subjects are offered which cover, among other things, the proper use of the Internet, computer ethics and computer-related crimes.
In addition, the Education Department (ED) has issued guidelines on the safe and proper use of the Internet. For example, students are advised not to reveal personal particulars in communicating with strangers on the Internet, and to report any indecent messages. They are also required to respect intellectual property and use decent languages.
As regards teacher training, a module on "Guidance Programme to Develop Correct Attitude towards IT Application" is included in the pre-service and in-service training for student guidance officers and teachers starting from this year. In addition, four related teacher training programmes are organised for serving teachers.
Children and youth centres occasionally organise workshops and seminars to alert parents and young people to possible hazards arising from the use of the Internet, and how they should respond. ED has been working with NGOs in designing the seminars and preparing guidelines.
From time to time, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) also runs similar publicity campaigns and public education programmes. TELA also works with ED and schools in organising talks on the proper use of the Internet.
The Information Technology Services Department has produced a VCD entitled "Explore IT with our Children" for distribution to all parent-teacher associations of secondary schools. The main focus of the VCD is on how parents should guide their children in using the Internet.
In addition, the Police organises exhibitions, seminars and symposiums on computer crimes for teachers and students. One of the themes is juvenile involvement in such crime. The Police has also published, in collaboration with ED, a pamphlet on "How to Keep Your Child Safe on the Internet" for distribution to parents. Furthermore, the Police publicizes from time to time prevention measures against computer crime, and advises on the appropriate use of the computer and Internet on the "Police magazine" television programme.