CAP calls for greater ‘gadget hygiene’ among children

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The consumer body is concerned about the government’s efforts to keep the ‘killer’ online game Blue Whale from Malaysia.


PETALING JAYA: The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has called on parents and teachers to make “gadget hygiene” an essential part of parenting and teaching.

The consumer body said it was concerned about the measures that the government had taken to keep Blue Whale, an online game which has resulted in numerous teenage suicides, from Malaysia.

The game is a challenge that can be played via any communications means and those who accept the challenge must carry out a series of dangerous tasks over fifty days. Players cannot quit once they start playing with the last and final task being an instruction to take his or her own life.

Although the communications and multimedia ministry announced that Blue Whale had not “beached” in Malaysia, CAP has urged authorities as well as consumers to be wary of what lurks on the “dark side” of the Internet.

“It is the duty of parents and teachers to discuss cyber security with their children and students respectively,” the consumer association said.

CAP advised teachers and parents to look out for signs of “out-of-normal behaviour” like their children becoming loners, displaying impulsive behaviour, or adopting disturbing eating and sleeping habits, that could lead to tragic consequences, it said in a statement today.

The association called on policy makers and stakeholders to take the necessary steps to immediately ban the game and include “cyber security” in the school curriculum.

CAP said the media and non-governmental organisations had a prominent role to play by creating awareness of “gadget hygiene” among the public.

It said many children were slowly getting addicted to the Internet, and gadget hygiene, like physical hygiene or emotional hygiene, was very important to prevent its misuse.

“Young people must be made aware that Internet addiction is just as bad as alcohol addiction and the net is a dangerous place,” CAP said.

It said 90% of the Internet, called the dark web, was “hidden” and dominated by drug pedlars, fraudsters, black marketers, hackers, terrorists, hit men and those involved in pornography.

CAP called on parents and teachers to educate their children on the dangers lurking on the Internet and the need for cyber security.

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