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Protect against ills of the internet


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Protecting children from the dark side of the Internet, says Prime Minister David Thompson, remains a priority for Barbados, even though the new information and communication technology (ICT)  age throws up some  good possibilities  for the country.This was the word to the congregation of the Mount of Praise Wesleyan Holiness Church in Tudor Bridge, St Michael, yesterday.In the message read on his behalf by the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy’s Permanent Secretary Ronald Bascombe, Thompson said that Barbadians must never lose sight of the need for “protecting children in cyberspace”.He did not elaborate, but major concerns about children using the Internet included the possibility of access to pornography and exposure to predators such as paedophiles.   “We recognise children to be a vulnerable group and, to this end, our telecommunications unit continues to promote this theme, and will be arranging, through the Ministry of Education, . . . a series of awareness presentations to our primary school children,” the message from Thompson read.“In this way, we will develop cyber-smart children and in the long run cyber-smart citizens, thereby facilitating the development of better cities and better lives with ICTs in a safe and secure environment.”The message was to mark World Telecommunications And Information Society Day today.It noted “smart buildings” – those using the new technologies to maximise benefits in energy, lighting, space, comfort, security and other areas – among the good ICT spin-offs.“On our near horizon, many new and innovative ways of managing our country Barbados will emerge,” Thompson’s message said.“These will include the establishment of “smart buildings”, the deployment of intelligent traffic management systems, realising new efficiencies in energy consumption and waste management, exchanging information and knowledge, and communicating on the move,” it added.    Officials from the ministry as well as ICT service providers attended the church service.They heard Pastor Ronnie Quimby urge the congregation to maintain contact with God, as the “service provider”.Quimby said marriages were breaking down because one or both partners had lost  that connection.When a marriage was in trouble, “the reality is that somewhere, somehow somebody has been disconnected”, he told the congregation.According to Quimby, messages about sexual abstinence and the use  of a condom “every time” were likely to fail unless they had a religious basis because “desires will control you unless you  are connected to God”.  (TY)

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