Have stricter verification for Netflix sign-ups

The arrival of Netflix in Singapore has put the American company in the spotlight in recent weeks.

While the launch of the on-demand video-streaming service brings about greater choices for consumers, the flipside is that many R21 titles can be easily accessed.

The pay-TV operators here are subject to stringent broadcasting guidelines, so the likelihood of our young people accessing undesirable content is low.

But with Netflix, all it takes is setting up an account and claiming that one is above 21 years of age, to access a trove of R21 entertainment.

One of Netflix's most-touted original shows, Narcos, glamourises the life of a Columbian drug lord, with plenty of gratuitous sex scenes.

It does not paint a true picture of how drug abuse can have detrimental effects on one's health or tear families apart.

I cannot imagine what would happen if our impressionable young people were to have easy access to content like this.

Why is an entity like Netflix not bound by Singapore's broadcasting rules?

I recommend that customers who are keen to sign up with Netflix be subject to stricter verification of their identities, like the need to submit their NRIC numbers or date of birth.

While variety and competition is good news for consumers, it should be noted that a majority of Singaporeans still live by traditional values.

I would not like to see our values, especially those taught to the young, eroded by negative influences.

Alfinda M. Bahari (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'Have stricter verification for Netflix sign-ups'. Print Edition | Subscribe