MCI Response to PQ on Response to Research on Increased Social Media Use and Suicidal Behaviour
Parliament Sitting on 3 October 2022
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
50. Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information as studies have linked increased screen time and social media use to suicidal behaviour, whether the Ministry will consider having a suicide prevention strategy which demands social media companies to take responsibility for upstream measures like education on, and providing resources for, suicide prevention, in line with the upcoming proposed Code of Practice for Online Safety and Content Code for Social Media Services.
Under the proposed Code of Practice for Online Safety, designated social media services with significant reach or impact in Singapore will be required to protect Singapore users of social media services from harmful online content that may affect their physical and mental well-being. This includes content relating to suicide and self-harm. Social media services must provide easily accessible online safety information on the service, which should include information on Singapore-based safety resources or support centres, and be easy to understand. If users, including young users, use high-risk search terms such as terms relating to self-harm and suicide on the service, the designated social media services will be expected to actively offer to them relevant safety information, including local suicide prevention hotlines.
A whole-of-society approach is necessary to prevent suicide in Singapore. There are several initiatives and strategies across several agencies. MCI will also continue to partner the community and industry in this effort to keep our online spaces safe for users who are at-risk.