Social media services to require more safeguards for children: Janil Puthucheary

Janil also highlighted that the Ministry of Communications and Information encourages parents to take on a bigger role in guiding their children about social media.

Matthias Ang | October 05, 2022, 03:36 PM

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The Ministry of Communications and Information's (MCI) proposed Online Safety Bill will require social media services to put in place additional safeguards for children, Janil Puthucheary said in Parliament on Oct. 5.

The Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information was responding to a question about whether MCI is considering a minimum age limit for children to join social media platforms, so as to mitigate the potential harm that social media sites can cause on young children.

He pointed out that the bill includes a proposed Code of Practice for online safety.

"The code will require social media services with significant reach or impact to put in place systems and processes to mitigate exposure to harmful content for users in Singapore, with additional safeguards for young users."

What are the existing measures put in place by NLB?

When asked by MP Melvin Yong about whether the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will create parent-specific social media literacy programmes, Janil highlighted that internet service providers are required, when offering residential services, to offer residential and mobile internet filtering services to help parents ensure that children have safe access to the internet.

The ministry also encourages parents to take on a bigger role in guiding their children about the appropriate age to use social media, he said.

This includes resources such as those produced by the media literacy council about safe and responsible online behaviour, and tips on when to let their children use social media.

Apart from MCI, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is also working with parents about managing their children's online habits.

In addition, the National Library Board (NLB) is also organising media and literacy events for October.

Such events provide Singaporeans with skills on how to be discerning when using online information sources, and also includes programmes targeting children.

"We will continue to monitor global developments as well as consult extensively, including on the issue of age verification as we consider additional measures where viable and appropriate," Janil said.

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Top Screenshot via MCI YouTube