To help parents protect their children from online threats, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is organizing a series of lectures across the country during the summer vacation, designed to teach parents about the risks youngsters may encounter when using the Web as well as highlighting the resources available to enhance Internet safety at home.
The lectures address various topics from Internet addiction to online social networking. Invited lecturers include experts and academics from the National Communication Commission, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), the Industrial Development Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the National Information Infrastructure Enterprise Promotion Association, the ministry said.
According to a 2010 national survey in which 53,636 valid samples were collected from schools, universities and colleges nationwide elementary, junior and senior-high students spend an average of 22 hours a week online during school semesters and 42 hours during summer and winter vacations. Playing online games is the most frequent online activity among teenagers.
The study also found that more than 20 percent of the respondents are heavy Internet users with 20.4 percent of surveyed fourth, fifth and sixth graders prone to online addiction, 23.7 percent among junior-high school students and 32.3 percent for senior-high students.
The results also indicated that the majority of respondents took care not to make personal information public and practice online etiquette. The surveyed youngsters also show relatively little interest in meeting up with people they have contacted through the Internet, the MOE said.
The MOE-commissioned survey was undertaken by researchers from NCTU, Shih Hsin University and the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology.
To keep youngsters safe, the MOE has launched several Internet resources, including software called the Network Guarding Angel (NGA), which allows parents to block unsuitable Web sites and prevents children from accessing material which is sexually explicit, violent and drug-related. Also, members of the public are invited to file complaints regarding online pornography, violence, gambling, drug-trafficking and Internet fraud to the government-funded Web site, Watch Internet Network (WIN), the ministry said.
In addition, the NCTU-managed age-appropriate educational Website, teacher.edu.tw, offers a wide range of information relating to online safety for youngsters and is available to teachers, parents and children themselves.
The lectures, which started in June, are to take place in seven cities and counties including Taichung City, Chiayi City, Yunlin County and Hulien County. More information can be found at the ministry’s Web site: www.edu.tw.