SENATE Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. is calling on parents and the government to take the initiative in preventing the youth from being tempted to use the internet for wrong and immoral purposes.

While saying the Internet is a “powerful tool for good,” Pimentel said the youth should be dissuaded from misusing this gadget of the computer age for activities that are detrimental to mankind.

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“It really depends on us as a people, especially as parents, to show and guide our children on the proper and gainful use of the internet,” Pimentel said in his keynote address during the first Asia Internet Congress in the Philippines held recently at the Crowne Plaza Galleria in Pasig City.

Pimentel said parents must not pass the buck to the government.

“We must express openly our views as to how government may curb the misuse of the internet. But let us not leave it completely to the hands of government to remedy the problem,” he said.

If the government is left alone to address the problem, Pimentel said it might provide a cure that could be worse than the ailment – censorship not of what is inherently bad but of everything that does not jibe with government or official views.

“We are therefore, treading on a tight rope between the people’s freedom of expression and the government’s duty to restrict what may be detrimental to the people’s general welfare and the national interest,” he said.

He added that the Internet has made people contact each other much more cheaply and speedily now than ever before.

Now, through the Internet, he said people all over the world may converse and see one another over Skype directly, exchange emails, twitter or text messages, discuss serious business or “tsismis” in matter of seconds or minutes.

With the use of Internet, he said research into various topics and several aspects of life has become easier than before. It has therefore provided a potent vehicle to gain knowledge and acquire wisdom for the betterment of life in general.

Citing the underside to the Internet, Pimentel said it may be used to promote criminal activities.

As an example, he said the instructions that guided the suicide bombers of the infamous 9/ll incident that devastated in 200l the Twin Towers in New York and razed to the ground a sizeable part of the Pentagon in Washington DC area were reportedly sent through coded cellphone messages.

The Internet, according to the senator, may be and is being used as a vehicle for the propagation of immorality.

He decried that pornographic pictures are now being sent through the Internet, through the cellphone “sextings” or as attachments of emails.

Pimentel also assailed the irresponsible use of the Internet for rumor mongering, for intriguing against the honor of individuals, for maligning candidates particularly under cover of anonymity of the email users, the twitters or the texters.

He said the Internet has become a modern-day weapon for black propaganda or smear campaign during this election period.