Boosting digital wellbeing for youth: MCI and IMDA's latest online safety campaign

With a focus on education and parental involvement, the initiative aims to mitigate risks like cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate content among young gamers.

Boosting digital wellbeing for youth: MCI and IMDA's latest online safety campaign

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) have embarked on an ambitious initiative to bolster the online safety of Singapore's younger population. This move comes in response to a concerning survey conducted by MCI, revealing that 47% of youths aged 10 to 18 engage in daily gaming activities, a pastime that has inadvertently exposed 14% of them to potentially dangerous interactions with strangers.

Further insights from the survey illuminate the challenges faced by youth gamers, particularly those between 13 to 18 years old. Seventeen percent have encountered bullying within the gaming environment, while a significant 38% have come across content peppered with vulgarities or depicting violence. Notably, this exposure is heightened among aficionados of first-person shooter games. Despite these risks, there appears to be a gap in parental awareness and intervention, with only 48% of parents accurately gauging their child's gaming duration.

To address these concerns, IMDA is set to introduce an array of bite-sized educational resources aimed at empowering parents to more effectively supervise their children's digital engagement. These materials, which will cover topics from screen time management to online etiquette and safety, will be progressively made available through various platforms including the Digital for Life Portal, the Families for Life Parenting website, and the Ministry of Education's Parents Gateway.

The initiative also signals an opportunity for marketers, especially in light of the fact that 77% of local marketers invest in in-game advertising. This trend is particularly pronounced in action-oriented games, which are now under scrutiny for their content. The drive towards in-game advertising underscores the need for strategies that prioritize the safety and well-being of young gamers.

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Game marketing ads and campaigns in Singapore

An example of a game marketing campaign that focuses on online safety is the collaboration between Minecraft and the non-profit organization, Reporters Without Borders, to create "The Uncensored Library". This virtual library was designed within the game to provide users access to articles and information that are censored in their own countries, promoting the importance of free speech and access to information.

For gamers, especially younger audiences, it offers a unique educational experience, highlighting the significance of online safety and the impact of censorship, while engaging them in a global conversation about freedom of expression.

Another significant campaign aimed at online game safety is Roblox's partnership with the online safety organization, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Together, they launched an initiative to educate Roblox players about the dangers of online sexual content and how to report it. By integrating these lessons into the game environment, Roblox has provided a platform for young gamers to learn about online safety in an interactive and engaging way.

This campaign not only helps in safeguarding the gaming community but also empowers players with the knowledge to protect themselves and others from inappropriate content online.

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Implications to the media landscape

For media stakeholders, the rise of in-game advertising in Singapore represents a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

On one hand, there is the challenge of crafting advertising practices that are sensitive to the vulnerabilities of younger audiences. This requires a delicate balance between engaging consumers and ensuring that the content is appropriate and safe for all ages. On the other hand, there lies the opportunity to contribute positively to the digital ecosystem, fostering environments where young gamers can navigate safely and responsibly.

This situation underscores a broader societal imperative: to develop advertising strategies that not only capture attention but also uphold values of safety and responsibility. By doing so, media stakeholders take a proactive role in addressing the nuances of digital engagement among youth. Such efforts align with societal values and demonstrate a commitment to enhancing the online experience for the younger demographic, reflecting a forward-thinking approach to the evolving landscape of digital marketing and online safety.

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