Make-Over of I-Café Image
The public image of i-cafés is not good. Parents and teachers of students on elementary and high school levels are blaming the i-cafés on the rampant truancy happening nowadays. Instead of having the image of being a partner in educating their children, parents see i-cafés as an entertainment areas where their children become computer gaming “addicts” who eventually lose their interests to attend classes in schools.
This is where finger-pointing starts; parents and teachers point to i-cafés as the cause of truancy among students while i-café owners point to parents and teachers as the ones negligent on their responsibilities to properly guide the children. The disagreement does not end on mere finger-pointing. Parents of truant students, unable to instill discipline on their children, would approach the local government authorities for help in solving the alleged truancy problem.
The local government officials, for fear of losing votes in elections, would, in turn legislate and implement rules banning entry of students of minor age to i-café premises. Thinking that such move is a panacea to truancy, everybody seems to rejoice except the poor i-café owners. In many occasions, it would not even creep into the minds of these anti-i-café people that they are negating the powers of the computer and Internet to shape their children’s future to become knowledgeable and productive citizens of the country.
With this scenario prevailing in many parts of the country, I could only hope that the i-café owners unite and hire the best public relations agency that could make programs and actions that could reverse the current bad public image of i-cafés. Now is the right time for i-cafés to change their image and really do their share in bridging the digital divide among the different generations of our people.
I-cafes must be known to parents, teachers and the public in general as the ones providing the cheap access to the infinite source of knowledge, the Internet. I-cafés are not gaming dens for undisciplined and truant students. People must regard i-cafés as the facilities in which knowledge are gained and users are transformed into well-meaning characters of this world. It can only be after the make-over of its image that i-cafés can claim their being partners of parents and teachers in shaping the minds of the young people.