Building safer online community is not about control, but making sure people know where to get help: Tan Kiat How

Building a safer online space for Singaporeans is not about strict policing of the digital world.
Building a safer online space for Singaporeans is not about strict policing of the digital world.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Building a safer online space for Singaporeans is not about strict policing of the digital world. It is about making sure that people recognise the red flags and know where to turn to for help, said Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Tan Kiat How on Tuesday (Sept 15).

The approach includes protecting people from child pornography, online bullying and cyber scams, and it has become more urgent today, as young people are spending more time online and seniors are starting to learn digital skills, he added.

Mr Tan, speaking during an interview with Money FM 89.3's Claressa Monteiro, said: "Having a safer online community is not about control; it's not about oversight. It's about all parties coming together to do (their) part."

This means involving both the Government and private sector, as well as schools and young people, he added.

In Parliament earlier this month, Mr Tan mooted the idea of having a single government agency to tackle these issues, which are now handled by multiple organisations.

He noted that countries such as Australia and New Zealand have set up one-stop centres for victims of online crime.

"Victims often feel they are alone and have no one to turn to, and don't know who to turn to.

"That agency can pull together resources to be a one-stop centre for such victims, and that benefits everyone."

During the interview, he also spoke on his plans for government feedback unit Reach, which he now chairs.

The 35-year-old organisation is working to engage segments of the population that may not have the skills or resources to proactively offer feedback to their MPs, such as people living in rental flats and prison inmates, he said.

 
 
 

"Every voice matters to us in terms of thinking about the future of the country, and in terms of making decisions."

Mr Tan, who is also Minister of State for National Development, was asked how often he gets feedback from aspiring homeowners on what they hope to see.

Almost every day, he replied.

"It's not just about giving us feedback on policies or anxieties or pain points in our lives," he said. "Increasingly, I'm getting many more very constructive and positive suggestions - people who care enough to write the e-mail, care enough to say, I think something can be improved."