Voice of the People

38

Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.

Safe spaces for children online

People are usually aware of the benefits of the Internet but very few know its dark side. Online risk is a global phenomenon, however, from Pakistan’s perspective we face additional challenges e.g. uploading/posting of blasphemous and sectarian content. Keeping in view the gravity of the matter, it is imperative to sensitize our social media users (i.e. youngsters, parents, teachers and other key stakeholders) about the issues and timely adoption of proper measures to save our young generation from further harm. In order to achieve the desired results, a collective effort is required to be made by all stakeholders.

Youngsters are vulnerable to the online world and parents/guardians supervising them are not fully aware about online risks, community guidelines of social media platforms and punishments mentioned in local laws. Kids at this stage require proper counselling their parents/teachers from time to time along with adoption of proven measures such as: avoid giving them hand-held devices and allow them to use PCs placed in a common area visible to all, and replacing online gaming facilities with physical activities.

Most importantly, parents must spare time for their children, be friendly and educate them about online risks and allow them to discuss their issues without judgment otherwise, they may confide in strangers/online predators. Educational institutions should also step up and raise awareness through organizing seminars/webinars, workshops etc. In addition, using parental control software and built- in safety features of SM applications is effective in filtering inappropriate content/apps, limiting screen time, observing online activities etc.

It is important to mention that all popular SM companies and their systems are hosted outside Pakistan on encrypted HTTPs sites. PTA after analyzing received complaints takes up the matter with concerned SM platform for removal/blocking of reported content. For quick resolution of the matter, SM platforms always prefer direct communication with complainant since it is easier to seek further information (if required) directly from the complainant.

MUHAMMAD FAROOQ

Islamabad

Drug abuse

Drugs are the new emerging trends in the world. Where knowledge and life values should be something that is inculcated in every mind, the drugs are taking their place and making life itself void. Drugs have positive uses too, but as it is human nature, we tend to bend towards the negative side of the use of drugs. It is a sad fact that most young people are addicted to narcotics these days. Not only students are using narcotics, but children are also seen smoking outside their homes.

It is an alarming sign because many times taking drugs becomes out of control and this ruins the complete life and also affects financially and legally as well. They tend to ruin relationships in life whether they are personal or professional. These young people lose their health and suffer from chronic diseases. Among the youth population, more than 20% are involved in some kind of drugs.

Among the youngest drug users, between the ages of 15 & 20 years, the most commonly used drug is cannabis. Compared to other national estimates, opiate use is very high with one million people using heroin or opium. The use of sheesha with chars and other drugs is a new emerging trend and is being (ab-)used by both males and females, mostly from the upper socio-economic strata living in the posh areas. The government should introduce heavy penalties and severe punishment for those people who are selling these narcotics to people, especially the young. If our youth is addicted to narcotics, our nation can never make progress. Collaboration among law enforcement, health and social agencies can help reduce demand which fuels drug trafficking activities, often involving violence and crime.

Treating addicts and preventing the onset of drug use can complement the law enforcement efforts to reduce supply. The concerned authorities should look into the matter and take serious action in this connection.

HAREEM FATIMA

Lahore

Water sanitisation

I read your daily newspaper regularly. I am very happy to see that you have dedicated a page of your newspaper for publication of public complaints and issues so that people’s problems can reach the concerned authorities in an efficient manner. Therefore, I would like to bring to the notice of the concerned authorities through your newspaper an issue which requires immediate attention.

As we all know that Karachi is the largest city and premier industrial and financial centre of Pakistan yet it is subjected to major infrastructure deficits. Of primary concern is poor water sanitation which has predisposed a weak healthcare system and its citizens to increased infectious diseases. In Karachi, causes of this include a mismanaged sewage system, poor urban planning and overcrowding.

Several reasons such as lack of funding, corruption and mismanagement have exacerbated circumstances placing extra strain on Karachi’s already scarce water supply. In addition, lack of maintenance and regulation of the existing system has led to increased contaminated water delivery to citizens. Consequently, outbreaks of various water borne diseases such as typhoid, helicobacter pylori, malaria, diarrhoea etc have severely impacted health of citizens, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The situation is worsened by Karachi’s rapidly growing population and lack of awareness among citizens regarding safe drinking water. socioeconomic disparities and illiteracy complicate access to medications and appropriate healthcare services. However, despite weak efforts on the governmental front, several national and international organizations continue striving to improve access to clean, drinkable water. I hope that the concerned authorities will realize the seriousness of the matter and solve it as soon as possible, acting with a sense of responsibility.

FARHEEN AKBAR

Karachi

Shortage

of panadol

The said tablet has become a sort of the national medicine of Pakistan that is consumed for every problem.

The same medicine is available under other less known but equally effective brand names, but ‘Panadol’ is what is known to all and sundry. Its shortage in the market can easily be nullified if people opt for paracetamol which is the generic name, rather than for any particular brand.

TAHIRA AMIR

Karachi

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