The Distance Provision For Internet Cafés
How far should an Internet café be from a school? This is a question that has been bugging the local authorities and Internet cafe owners for so long a time. Some local government units already have ordinances specifying certain distances of an Internet cafés from schools before business permits can be issued to the establishments. This is the distance provision referred to in the title of this blog and the data I gathered show that rules vary from as near as fifty (50) meters to as far as five hundred (500) meters. There are some LGUs that do not have their own ordinances but imposed such distance provision based on a very old law that provide for cockpits, bowling alleys and similar establishments to be located away from schools and churches. They don’t even consider that such establishments are not allowed near schools and churches because of the noise they produce in their premises.
The distance provision for Internet café is supposedly aimed at curbing truancy among school children who would be inside Internet cafés instead of their classrooms. Many discussions among members of Parent-Teacher’s Associations (PTAs) would point fingers to Internet cafés as the culprits in the social malady of truancy among young school children.
Rather than looking at themselves and how they impose discipline on their children, parents and teachers would conclude that the presence of Internet cafés near schools is the main cause of truancy and seek the help of their local government to keep Internet cafés away from schools. This is the usual occurrence in a locality where the citizens think that the complex social problem of truancy among school children can be remedied by a simple solution of having a distance provision for Internet cafés.
My opinion on the matter of solving truancy by simply moving away the Internet cafés is this. No matter how far away you put Internet cafés from schools, the truants among the school children will still skip classes and play games if they are not getting disciplined for doing so. No amount of distance can keep them from doing what they want, if these children are getting away with their truant habits from their parents and teachers who look at others, instead of themselves, as the cause of the problem. Also, the farther you put the Internet cafés, the more difficult it would be to school children who are using them as the sources of knowledge on their studies.
On the part of the Internet café owners, I suggest that you do your parts in solving the problem of truancy. Be part of the solution and not part of the problem. If you see your young customers to be deviants and spending time in your place rather than the classrooms where they should be, take it as your responsibility to tell them to attend their classes. Let us not destroy the future of those children in exchange for a few pesos that you will earn.