MCMC Introduces Internet Monitoring Software For Children

By Ali Imran Mohd Noordin

CYBERJAYA (Bernama) -- With a total of 20.1 million Internet users in the country, internet monitoring has long been a hot topic especially with the rise of Internet abuse.

A research done by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in 2014 revealed that most children in Malaysia own a handphone by the age of 12.

A string of incidents involving crime and moral decline have been linked to the sophistication of today's world of communication.

Last month, a girl was drugged and sexually assaulted after she befriended a 24-year-old man through WeChat.

Despite websites being blocked by the MCMC, there are still serious concern over the misuse of Internet applications which, if not controlled, could prove to be destructive.

SELF-REGULATION

Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin, MCMC Network Security and Enforcement chief said they preferred to encourage the public to understand and practise self-regulation while being online.

The concept of self-regulation emphasizes that users themselves be responsible for the content they access, produce, upload and share.

The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF) created under the Communications and Multimedia Act has introduced the Communications and Multimedia Content Code to prevent Internet abuse in Malaysia.

The forum plays an important role in fostering self-regulation among the people.

He said this during a special presentation ceremony for the media regarding MCMC's cooperation with ISP companies in efforts to provide a child internet monitoring system.

This involves cooperation between MCMC and Internet Service Providers (ISP).

"In line with technological developments, it is time to encourage self-regulation through the development of an internet monitoring system for users.

"In the concept of self-regulation, the responsibility of monitoring lies on the ISP. Enforcement bodies play a role to ensure laws stipulated under the act is adhered to.

"With these developments, it is time for us to strengthen the concept of co-regulation which also involves authorities like the Royal Malaysia Police, " Zulkarnain added.

The co-regulation concept is also used by MCMC to resolve cases that need the participation of relevant government ministries, departments or agencies.

Zulkarnain then cited the partnership between MCMC and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in efforts to monitor and take action on irresponsible parties which offered fake umrah packages online a while back.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT

According to Zulkarnain, it is time for parents to join hands with the authorities in the process of regulating Internet use among children.

In carrying out these efforts, the MCMC has worked with six ISPs to develop an internet monitoring system for users.

The ISPs involved are Celcom, UMobile, Digi, Maxis, Time and TM.

Subscribers of these ISPs can now opt for special monitoring packages for mobile phones, restrict access to websites and even limit mobile phone usage.

"The role of parents here is to use these applications provided. It is as easy as downloading the application and then it's ready, " said Zulkarnain.

When asked about suggestions by the public to filter applications deemed to have a negative influence such as WeChat, Bigo and Tumblr, Zulkarnain said it is not something easy to execute as there were lots of material out in cyberspace.

"This is why despite of the existing monitoring efforts, we also hope to foster an Internet usage culture that is based on informed decisions and choice which will make users more responsible, "he added.

PUBLIC ACTION

Meanwhile, Eneng Faridah Iskandar, MCMC Advocacy and Outreach Division senior director said children could not escape the risk of Internet abuse even if they were not at fault.

While parents accept the fact that the Internet has become a part of their children's lives, it is necessary for them to be vigilant in protecting their children. "We cannot place complete trust in children when using gadgets or devices without thinking of the possibility of misuse, not by them but by others towards them.

"These crimes are not new or predatory behavior, but the internet acts as a new platform for the crimes that already exists. It is easier to access a target nowadays, " said Eneng.

Eneng also called on parents to take the first step in controlling their child's Internet access through the most basic method, which is learning how to use the Internet as well.

She advised parents to talk to their children about the good and bad of Internet usage as well as safe Internet usage techniques.

This includes not sharing detailed personal information on social media, being cautious when accepting friend requests on social websites like Facebook and to lodge a report should they become a victim of cyber crime.

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INTERNET SECURITY FEATURES

At the same event, all six ISPs showcased the products they are offering for their subscribers.

Generally, all applications provide the function of website monitoring, prepare reports on children's Internet usage and restrict selected applications from children.

It can also control the amount of screen time that a child spend on their mobile phone.

Even more interesting, most ISPs also allow location detection and warnings when the child leaves the safe zone and enters a dangerous zone determined by the parents.

PRODUCTS IN THE MARKET

Celcom launched the KidSafe application on Aug 31 this year and its usage is free until Dec 31. A monthly fee of RM8 will be charged starting Jan 1. The application can be downloaded at http://www.celcom.com.my/personal/services/kidsafe.

U Mobile offers parents two applications. Kakatu is a programme that operates in Bahasa Melayu, English and Indonesian while Kidslox only operates in English. More information can be obtained from http://www/u.com.my/extras/value-added-services/parental-control.

The monthly charges of using Kakatu is RM4.99 and RM8.99 for Kidslox. Kakatu is available on Google Playstore while Kidslox can be found in the App Store for iOs users and Google Playstore for Android phone users.

Digi Family Safety has two options. Their Freemium package is free for two family members while the Premium comes with a RM5 monthly fee and allows access to seven phones at once.

It can be downloaded from the App Store and and Google Playstore. For more information, visit https://familysafety.digi.com.my.

Maxis offers the MaxisONE Kid package that comes equipped with a QQ watch and a monthly fee of RM58. Visit http://www.maxis.com.my/en/personal/plans/postpaid-plans/mahisone-kid.html for more information.

Time subscribers are given free internet monitoring provided through their internet router. For further information, visit http://time.com/support/faq.

TM users can use the TM Online Guard application which charges RM2 for connection to each device in the premises. Find out more from www.tm.com.my/parentalcontrol.

BERNAMA