MCI response to PQ on legislation for tech companies to prevent minors access dating sites
Parliament Sitting on 13 September 2021
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
58. Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether the Government will introduce legislation to ensure that technology companies take action to prevent vulnerable minors from accessing adult dating sites.
Many sites that provide dating services can be found on the Internet. Some serve a legitimate purpose, but there are sites that allow people to be offered money and gifts in exchange for “companionship”. Minors face the risk of being exploited if they access such dating sites.
If there is any procurement of sexual services for payment through such sites, action can be taken under the Women’s Charter. If there is sexual communication or grooming of a minor, action can be taken under the Penal Code.
Under the Internet Code of Practice (ICOP), sites which facilitate illegal activities constitute prohibited material and can be blocked by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
IMDA also requires Internet Service Providers to offer Internet parental control services to their subscribers. Parents may subscribe to such services to manage their children’s access to websites and online services.
In addition to policy and regulation, our schools conduct cyber wellness lessons for students, where students learn to identify and avoid inappropriate online content. The Media Literacy Council (MLC) has been promoting safe and responsible online behaviour through resources and public education activities to encourage online users, including our young, to exercise judgment about the content that they come across online.
There is active collaboration between the people, public and private (3P) sectors on addressing online harms, such as MCI’s Singapore Together Alliance for Action (AfA) against online harms launched in July 2021. These collaborations will help guide us in updating our policies, regulations and efforts to educate and support the public.