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PNG Censorship Office giving students closer look of the internet

Papua New Guinea Office of Censorship has carried out a nationwide school awareness programme to educate and inform students about the negative and positive effects of the internet.
Deputy chief censor Jim Abani said children were the future leaders and it is important to educate them about the positive and negative results of accessing information from the internet using mobile phones.
Acting executive manager strategic and policy coordination Karen Gabby said the awereness programme aims to educate the younger population especially students on issues such as child online safety and access to illicit materials that could affect their wellbeing.
“We’ve come up with a four-year national awareness strategy with target groups and we are starting with the students and will continue thereafter,” Gabby said.
Other target groups include family, churches and youths.
Manager media programmes Robroy Chicki said the findings from the awareness was alarming where in one case, two students were expelled from school because they were caught watching pornographic movies.
“We carried awareness and research on sexual content through mediums of communication. We’ve received some statistics and some of the answers that we got were very surprising from young people like them,” Chicki said.
Research officer Hale Lahui said the targeting of students was to advocate against the inappropriate use of any form of media such as mobile phones or laptops, which could contribute to students’ failure in school.
“In the course of our research, we are exploring the views of young people. How they are affected through inappropriate use of media, what potential harms there are and what restrictions can be imposed for particular cases in any form of media with sexual content,” Lahui said.
“The results of this research programme will form the basis of the concept note that the office has developed on internet content filtering system,” she said.
“And we also anticipate conducting case studies on issues pertaining to sexual content among children and the wider community.
“We will prepare reports on case studies on the concept note that we have on hand.”
The awareness programme, which started in March, have already covered Gulf, Sandaun and East Sepik and will move on to West New Britain next.
Staff from the Office of Censorship has visited 20 schools and spoken to more than 13,667 students.

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