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Google survey: 1 in 2 children in Singapore encounter “inappropriate content” online

Google survey: 1 in 2 children in Singapore encounter “inappropriate content” online

Google's annual  APAC Kids and Families Online Safety Survey saw 8,000 respondents, 500 of which are Singaporean parents with at least one child aged 5-17.

About one in every two children in Singapore has seen inappropriate content online in the last year, said Google in an official statement today (21 September 2023). However, the biggest culprits aren’t the kind of inappropriate content you’re thinking about.

Google released its third APAC Kids and Families Online Safety Survey findings. Conducted annually, the survey sourced its sentiments from 8,000 parents across Australia, India, The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

(Click to enlarge) Google's summary of Singapore parent sentiments around their children's online safety.

Of them, 500 respondents are parents in Singapore with at least one child aged 5-17. Google also learnt that children based here spend anywhere from 1 to 6 hours a day online for their daily needs, like education and entertainment.

Per the survey’s responses (report from parents), the top three types of inappropriate content are:

Misinformation, at 55.4%Deceptive advertising and spam, at 50.7%Violent content, at 48.7%

The survey also found that 79% of Singaporean parents feel confident about bringing up the topic of safe Internet use with their children — down from 83% last year. Google reasons that the difficulty of finding age-appropriate, easy-to-understand examples for younger users is a key barrier for parents. Another is the rapidly evolving state of our online world. Of its Singapore respondents, almost half (47%) struggle to find “the right time” to talk to their children about online safety.

“More kids and teens nowadays are savvy navigators of the digital world. Our survey results highlight the urgent need to make online safety a central part of their conversations at home. We understand that each family’s relationship with technology is unique, and we encourage parents to make good use of tools such as Family Link and Be Internet Awesome to aid their digital parenting. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. We remain committed in stepping up our efforts in working collaboratively with industry partners and experts to ensure digital literacy remains more accessible for all,” said Norman Ng, Regional Operations Lead, Trust & Safety Global Engagements, Google Singapore.

How do you make browsing the Internet safer for children?

Here are some tools and tips by Google to help with digital parenting, with a child’s safe exploration of the Internet in mind:

Family Link: A multipurpose family management tool that lets parents secure a kid’s Google Account. Primarily, it can limit the Google Play Store to age-appropriate apps, set screen limits for devices, and be aware of a child’s whereabouts via Google Maps.SafeSearch: A familiar tool for web browsing if your journey starts from Google’s search engine. It is toggled on by default for users 18 or under. SafeSearch has been upgraded to blur out inappropriate content automatically, like graphic violence.Kids version: Google has YouTube Kids and a Kids tab for the Google Play Store. They are made for the very young, which can be useful before you unleash your offspring into the full digital world.Online resources about safe Internet surfing: You can use the content prepared by Google, designed for parents and children to learn about digital citizenship and be safer online. Two such resources are Digital Safety Resources and Be Internet Awesome.

Google has pledged to train 50,000 Singaporean parents and children on online safety by end-2024 through its Online Safety Park and Be Internet Awesome programme, aside from being an active contributor to the government-initiated Digital For Life (DFL) Movement by IMDA.

To remove inappropriate local content, Google works with four Singapore communities and organisations that help identify such content in our context. In Q2 2023 alone, about 39,536 videos in Singapore were removed for violating such guidelines.

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