Dated: 21 February 2001

Mr Lee Yock Suan, Minister for Information and the Arts announced that the Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) has established a $5 million Internet Public Education Fund to promote online safety in Singapore. 

He was addressing some 400 local and international delegates at the Safe Surfing 2001, an international convention on online safety, jointly organised by the Parents Advisory Group for the Internet (PAGi) and the National Internet Advisory Committee (NIAC). The event is supported by SBA.

Minister called on industry and community to explore new ways to make the online environment safer. "To encourage fresh approaches, the Singapore Broadcasting Authority has created a S$5 million Internet Public Education Fund. Industry and community groups can draw on the Fund to develop access management tools, create appealing and safe content for children, and embark on more public education initiatives," he said.

With reference to a recent PAGi survey, Minister highlighted that 77% of parents surveyed were most concerned about their children accessing undesirable materials on the Internet, while 68% were afraid that their children would reveal personal information online. Mr Lee urged industry to respond to parental concerns and needs in this area.

He highlighted efforts of Starhub Internet, which is working with Symantec Limited to enhance its Family Access Network (FAN) surfing plan to add more features that will allow parents greater flexibility in managing their children's online activities. He noted similar efforts by SingNet and Pacific Internet. Minister refered to this as "a step in the right direction."

Minister also applauded PAGi on its efforts in educating parents on online safety issues and the NIAC for advancing industry self-regulation. PAGi has reached out to some 10,000 parents in the past year and its website received 9,000 hits per month. PAGi will be releasing other findings from its survey on parents' and children's perceptions of the Internet soon.

Safe Surfing 2001 is attended by industry leaders, child safety advocates, community organisations and regulators from USA, UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada and other Asia-Pacific countries. It will be held from 22 to 24 February 2001 at the Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. There is a public forum for parents titled "Raising Kids in an Online World" on Saturday, 24 February 2001. Parents who wish to register for the Public Forum can call Tel : 737 9882.

Editor's Note:

In March 1998, following feedback from parents and schools on possible dangers found on the Internet especially for the young, Internet Access Service Providers (IASPs) in Singapore are required to provide optional family access networks that parents can subscribe to for their children. The services, known as Family Access Networks (FAN), filter out more pornographic as well as other undesirable sites and provide an optional, hassle-free network solution to parents who are unfamiliar with the use of stand-alone filtering software. FAN empowers parents to better manage how their children can access the Internet. Subscribers who choose not to opt for these services can continue with the present access to the Internet. Among the IASPs, SingNet is offering the Family Online service;Pacific Internet has its Cyber Guard Family Access plans, and Starhub Internet is providing the Infinity Family Access Plan.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023