A Government official has sounded a warning about the misuse of the computer and the negative impact it can have on the world’s social development.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development and Culture, Celia Toppin, made this observation last Friday, while addressing the graduation ceremony for the Community Development Department’s Information for Teens (IT) Graduation Ceremony.?? It was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Emphasising that the computer was a great tool for information access and social networking, she opined: "At the click of the mouse you have the privilege of being in constant and real-time contact with the rest of the world.?? But there are many treacherous and negative elements along the new information highway and you need to be aware of these."

Ms. Toppin also lamented the prevailing situation where more persons are using the computer to inform their moral and social choices.?? "Be sensitive to the many challenges which you will face: such as invasion of privacy as the negative cultural influences from other dominant cultures seek to erode the values and principles which we as a people have traditionally embraced."

She further stated: "You have to decide who you are going to look to for guidance on how you should dress, or what your standards of behaviour should be.?? So, this is your decision, make it wisely.

The Acting Permanent Secretary also urged the students to analyse carefully the information taken from Internet sources and added, "not everything you see on the Internet is fact.?? Much of it is pure fiction."

Ms. Toppin reminded the participants that computer literacy was extremely important in the business environment to streamline IT processes.??jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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