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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is looking to cooperate with the Communications and Multimedia Ministry in raising Internet literacy among children, minors and parents on the dangers of untoward exposure online.
Its deputy minister Hannah Yeoh said she will consult Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo on filtering sites that show or depict under-aged, school-going minors in a sexual manner.
“Such sites contribute to social problems, so we have to start looking, especially when you touch on (the subject of) children,” she said during a Deepavali event organised by the Taman Tun Dr Ismail Market Traders and Hawkers Association.
Other possible steps to curb such activities include harsher penalties for those found guilty of operating the websites and even those who are caught viewing them.
“But the main idea is to really empower the children and increase their awareness. Many of them do not know the proper boundaries (when online)
“Another thing I have also come to realise is there are many parents who may not be aware of the dangers on the Internet,” Yeoh said.
Citing the recent controversy over former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s nine-year old granddaughter Sofee’s video on social media recorded by her mother Datuk Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid, she said it is common for many to act in the spur of the moment without realising what impact it may have on the child.
“These things are going to float and circulate on the Internet for many years. We still see a lot of mothers posting photos of their babies in diapers or undergarments, or taking a shower,” Yeoh said.
Although meant to be innocuous, she said parents ought to avoid doing so as it could have many disturbing implications.
“It infringes upon the rights of the child as he or she has no choice to decide at this point (in their lives),” Yeoh said.
The Star recently reported on the phenomenon of schoolgirls stripping for cameras, with the photos subsequently posted on social media.
The issue has raised worries among parents and social activists who fear this could lead to an erosion of social morality and an increase in depression cases, among others.