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Singapore is considering removing harmful app-store content and age restrictions for online games.

Online Games

According to MCI, the new Code of Practice aims to improve online safety beyond social media and into online communication services.

Singapore will implement a new Code of Practice for app stores, requiring them to remove harmful content from the market.

This code will be developed with industry participation over the next 12 to 18 months, said Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information, in Parliament on Tuesday (28 February).

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Teo stated during her ministry’s Committee of Supply debate that apps with harmful content, such as depicting explicit sexual activities or inciting violence, continue to be a concern, particularly for children.

The Code of Practice aims to improve online safety beyond social media and into commonly used online communication services. It will be in addition to the Code of Practice for Online Safety, which will require all social media companies with a significant reach to implement systems to limit Singapore users’ exposure to online harms.

What is the classification scheme for online games?

Singaporeans will also be protected from harmful content in online games, according to the Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI).

Teo suggested an age classification scheme for online games, similar to the one already in place for video games. The scheme will clarify the age appropriateness of games and help parents exercise better supervision over their children’s online gaming.

“Apps with egregious content may also become unavailable for download. However, games may be accessed via platforms other than apps, and we will investigate how to deal with this,” she added.

A landscape survey on online gaming has also begun in order to determine whether more can be done to address issues such as cyber-addiction. Because there is currently no international agreement on the nature of the problem or the effectiveness of measures, the survey will assist MCI in better understanding Singaporeans’ concerns.

The survey will look into how children are exposed to unwanted interactions and inappropriate content on gaming platforms. It will also investigate the social and psychological effects of gaming, which will go beyond problematic content.