• Punish students for social media abuse, Catholic schools told

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    THE Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) is calling on schools to adopt policies aimed at curbing internet abuse in the form of cyber-bullying, cybersex, and plagiarism of online materials.

    In a recent forum, titled “wirED or Web Impact Redefining Educational Policy,” school administrators discussed problems posed by the deep immersion of students as well as faculty in the internet.

    “The event is really an attempt to…see how the web is impacting on the school communities and on how the school policies will have to be adjusted in order to be able to address the realities of the web,” CEAP President Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. told The Manila Times.

    Tabora raised the need for school policies addressing disciplinary issues emerging from the pervasive use of the internet.

    “So because the nature of the web, the schools [are]now in cyber reality and the schools have to reflect much on how it can [deal]with this cyber reality today. For some of the schools, policies will have to be formulated relative to the disciplines because on the internet there’s such things as bullying, defamation of character, sexting . . . so various levels of disciplines have to be formulated,” Tabora, also president of Ateneo de Davao University, said.

    “Some of the big problems are dealing with teachers who are supposed to be researchers, students who [are]supposed to be researchers who plagiarized, or students who no longer use the library because everything is found on the internet,” he added.

    Tabora said students and teachers who violate school policies on cyberbullying and other abusive uses of social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, should face strict disciplinary action.

    “We have situations where we have severely… I mean, you can dismiss students for misusing the media for publishing private material,” he said.

    Some 750 administrators of private schools all over the country attended the forum.

    ‘Review cybersex laws’

    Sen. Leila de Lima, meanwhile, is urging the Senate to assess the implementation of laws protecting children amid the rising number of “webcam child sex” cases in the country.

    De Lima has filed Senate Resolution 379 calling for a review of the penalties against offenders behind child pornography and exploitation, where children are paid to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam before foreigners.

    “There is a need to review the state and efficacy of the implementation of current laws that protect our children from predatory acts by malevolent elements in our society as well as the provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act to see whether there is need for amendatory legislation, including the possibility of imposing higher penalties for child pornography,” said de Lima.

    Authorities have found cybersex dens in Cavite and Bacolod, where minors were forced to perform sexual acts for men in Australia and US through livestreaming, she noted.

    The Philippines has been touted as “a key hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry” despite the existence of several laws against child pornography and exploitation. Among these laws are Republic Act (RA) 9777 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012. NEIL A. ALCOBER AND NIKKI J. DELOS REYES

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