Sunlight AfA Releases Topline Findings from Poll on Online Harms at Webinar
Respondents called for stricter enforcement of relevant laws and for stronger measures by technology companies and platforms to the tackle gender-based online harms.
The Sunlight AfA (also known as the Alliance for Action to tackle online harms, especially those targeted at women and girls) held its second webinar titled “A Conversation on Protecting Women; Girls from Online Harms” on Friday, 25 March 2022. Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and National Development and co-chair of the Sunlight AfA, attended the event as a guest speaker.
At the webinar, the Sunlight AfA released topline findings from an online poll conducted with more than 1,000 Singaporeans in January 2022 on the perceptions, experiences and the prevalence of online harms in Singapore.
Close to half of the respondents (47%) have personally experienced one or more type of online harms1. Meanwhile, 31% of respondents have either experienced gender-based online harms2 or witnessed such harms (or both).
Respondents aged 15-35 years of age form the majority of those who personally experienced online harms and gender-based online harms.
43% of respondents felt that stricter enforcement of relevant laws was the most effective solution to reduce gender-based online harms. Meanwhile, respondents felt that technology companies and platforms had the most room for improvement in tackling the issue.
57% of respondents are unaware or only slightly aware of help-seeking avenues if they experience any online harms.
Having reporting systems for complaints is the top measure that will encourage respondents who experience gender-based online harms to act.
Webinar for Youths
Targeted at youths, the webinar discussed online harms experienced by youths, how they can better respond or take action against online harms, as well as how online safety can be enhanced for the digital generation. These added on to the discussions from the first Sunlight AfA webinar in February 2022 which focused on issues such as children’s exposure to harmful online content, and the role the people, public and private (3P) sectors – including technology companies – can play in enhancing safety for children as they navigate the online space.
Moderated by Mr Joel Lim, member of Sunlight AfA and Director of ZYRUP Media, speakers at the webinar comprised the following members of the AfA – ranging from youths to industry professionals:
- Ms Nisha Rai, Undergraduate, National University of Singapore and Co-President, SafeNUS3
- Mr Jamin Tan, Head of Regional Product Policy, Trust & Safety APAC, TikTok
- Ms Simran Toor, Lawyer, Co-Founder of Women in Practice Committee, Law Society
- Prof Lim Sun Sun, Professor of Communication & Tech, Singapore University of Technology and Design
- Dr Chew Han Ei, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies
The AfA also launched its website www.sunlightafa.org at the webinar. The website contains updates on AfA’s events, and resources to address online dangers and risks.
1 For the purposes of this poll, online harms was defined as “the use of the Internet to engage in activities that result in harm or suffering to a person or a group of people online or offline”.
2 For the purposes of this poll, gender-based online harms was defined as “online harms due to one’s gender”
3 Safe NUS is a student-led initiative aimed at making safe spaces for all students, as well as creating an environment where all students have adequate avenues to seek help with regard to sexual harassment on campus.