June 11, 2010

The Distance Provision For I-Cafés

The distance of i-cafés from schools (distance provision) is an issue that has been bugging the industry since the start. Video arcades which came earlier than the gaming cafés were for the right reason not allowed to be established near schools. Distance provision for video arcades as provided for by local ordinances varies from as near as thirty (30) meters up to as far as two hundred (200) meters from the gates (sometimes perimeters) of schools. Currently, some local government units (LGUs) have specific ordinances with similar distance provision between a school to the nearest i-café as a means to minimize truancy among students of minor age.

The distance provision is aside from the entry regulations banning elementary and high school students from entering café during weekdays which was already discussed in a previous article. The question on this prohibition is its effectiveness in curbing truancy. There were those who says that no matter how far you locate cafés from schools, they will still be sought by the game-addicted students. It could be a different story if the authorities will be serious in implementing the no-entry rule. But then again, the question of preventing students from doing their assignments and homework using the i-cafés during weekdays remain.

With the premise that students of minor age must be allowed to use cafés for their studies, some LGUs do away with the distance provision. They first classify i-cafés into gaming and non-gaming categories. If an i-café has games in its computer units but also offers other services like Internet browsing, encoding, scanning and printing, it still fall under gaming category. Then they make the distance provision longer, say 300 to 500 meters away from schools and impose this rule to gaming i-cafés only. The non-gaming i-cafés can stay near schools or even inside them if situation allows.

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