Survey Reveals 14% of Youths Engage with Strangers in Online Gaming, Sharing Personal Details

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February 13th, 2024 — The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has conducted a survey that found a concerning trend among Singapore’s adolescents who play video games online. More than 10% of 810 Singaporean teenagers (aged 10–18) who participated in the poll confessed to communicating with strangers in ways other than gaming, such as divulging private information. Teens and young adults are easy prey for adult predators and hackers, and this strategy makes me very nervous.

From October 2022 to February 2023, a study was conducted in Singapore to learn more about the gaming habits of young people and the measures parents may take to safeguard their children from the negative effects of gaming. Strangely, 36% of participants indicated they occasionally or often played online games with strangers, while 64% stated they never or never did so. Unexpectedly, fourteen percent of the young people polled admitted to meeting in person, talking about subjects other than gaming, or even disclosing private information with complete strangers.

The findings also highlighted that nearly half of the surveyed youths play games every day, dedicating at least two hours to gaming in each session. Furthermore, 17% of youths aged 13 to 18 experienced in-game bullying from other players, with only a small fraction reporting these incidents to their parents. The survey also uncovered that a considerable number of youths encountered vulgarities or violent content while gaming, especially those who played first-person shooter games.

The MCI underlined that although there are possible hazards involved with online gaming, the survey did not reach the conclusion that there are purely negative effects. Other research has highlighted the advantages of gaming, including improving motor and perceptual abilities, encouraging prosocial conduct and collaboration, and offering outlets for imagination and creativity. The purpose of the survey is to help young people make more informed decisions about their gaming behaviour and to increase parental knowledge of their children’s gaming activities.

According to the report, parents are generally unaware of what their kids are playing video games with. Just 31% of parents were fully aware of who their child played video games with, and only approximately half of the parents could estimate how much time their child spent gaming. In order to reduce possible threats, parents should be more active in their children’s online activities, as this lack of knowledge highlights.

MCI announced additional steps to improve Singaporean users’ internet safety, particularly for young people, in response to these results. Minister of Communications and Information Josephine Teo launched “bite-sized materials” to help parents guide their children to use the internet more sensibly and safely. These tools, which will be made available in stages starting in February, address issues including controlling kids’ screen time, encouraging safe online behaviour, and protecting kids from online dangers like cyberbullying and sexual grooming.

The findings of the poll and the measures that followed highlight how crucial it is to provide young people with a secure and responsible online environment. Singapore seeks to safeguard its youth from the possible risks of online gaming while acknowledging the benefits of digital interaction by educating parents and arming them with the required skills and resources.


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