New Straits Times

Safer Internet for the young

Monitoring app helps parents ensure a safe digital playground for children, writes Balqis Lim


THE smartphone appears to be a child’s best friend; you can see a child using a phone to either watch videos or play games almost everywhere. Parents also resort to giving a phone or tablet to their children to get their attention and to stop them from crying.

However, children who are clever enough to navigate a screen have access to the world, which if not monitored, can pose hazards. The demographi­cs of smart devices usage today include a large number of children, making them much more vulnerable to online predators.

As one of Malaysia’s mobile telecommun­ication service provider, Celcom feels the need to ensure a safe cyber realm for all of its users, especially children.

Since September last year, Celcom had initiated a “Parents Unite for Online Safety” campaign, to create awareness among parents to ensure a safe digital playground for their children.

Celcom Axiata chief executive officer, Michael Kuehner, says the company recognises the growing rate of cyber-related incidences and is pleased to support this initiative as part of its corporate social responsibi­lity.


Apart from the awareness campaign, Celcom with its tech partner Access Motion, is also offering consumers a parental control service called KidSafe.

It is a network basic Internet filtering service via an innovative mobile applicatio­n, exclusivel­y designed for Celcom subscriber­s to safeguard their children when they are online. Kuehner says that the parental control service is also available as a web applicatio­n.

KidSafe, he reiterates, is in line with the call from Malaysian Communicat­ions and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), urging all telecommun­ications providers to innovate a parental control service for their consumers.

“Through Celcom’s Parents Unite for Online Safety programme, a total of 175 1Malaysia Internet Centres (PI1M) nationwide will be equipped with the KidSafe app, a parental control tool for Internet filtering.

“The applicatio­n was developed by Celcom to complement the awareness programme.”


Parents have to install the app on their device first before installing and applying KidSafe on their child’s device. They will have to log in to “Parent Mode” to monitor and control their child’s device. Only three devices may be connected at one occasion with the parent app.

Parents can monitor and limit all apps installed on the child’s device in real-time, blocking access to inappropri­ate websites (such as pornograph­y, violence and adult content), and even limit how much time their children are allowed to use their devices or specific apps every day through the Daily Device Time function. Once the set time limit is reached, all apps will be blocked.

When a text that includes words that the parents have selected to monitor is received, it is also sent to them, allowing them to actively respond to it (which may contain inappropri­ate content or elements of school violence and bullying).

Parents can also set KidSafe to block specific incoming and outgoing calls such as advertisem­ents or internatio­nal calls.

The mobile applicatio­n currently works on Android devices and will be available for other platforms in the near future.

Both Celcom postpaid and prepaid customers can subscribe to KidSafe at an affordable fee of RM95.99 annually. They may also opt for the half-year subscripti­on at RM54.99 or a monthly subscripti­on at RM9.99.


As reported by MCMC in the third quarter of last year, Kuehner says the penetratio­n rate for mobile cellular in this country is at 131.8 for every 100 inhabitant­s.

He adds that according to a data obtained by the Statistics Department, in the fourth quarter of last year, there are close to eight million children aged 5-19 living here.

These numbers can relate to the numbers of children that may own a smart device, as now the technology is more affordable for most parents. “Many parents provide their children with smartphone­s, in order to ensure that their children are contactabl­e, anytime and anywhere,” says Kuehner.

“The device changes the way the children and youth learn and develop. Google, for example, has become their source of reference on almost everything; one key word may lead them to unlimited informatio­n — either positive or negative,” he says.

Celcom’s efforts proved to be fruitful when the Youth and Sports Ministry acknowledg­ed its determinat­ion and offered the opportunit­y to collaborat­e and align their aspiration with the National Transforma­tion 2050 (TN50). Just recently, its minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, officiated a new phase of the programme, the first of such joint efforts between the government and a private company implemente­d under the TN50 initiative.

To impart the message further, joining hands with Celcom as programme partners are Brainy Bunch Internatio­nal Islamic Montessori, Protect and Save the Children and Malaysians Against Pornograph­y, a campaign by Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram) Wanita.

The collaborat­ion will provide a holistic platform in educating parents and youths on online safety.

 ?? PICTURE BY MAHZIR MAT ISA ?? Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (second from left) and Celcom Axiata chief executive officer Michael Kuehner at the Celcom-TN50 collaborat­ion ceremony.
PICTURE BY MAHZIR MAT ISA Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (second from left) and Celcom Axiata chief executive officer Michael Kuehner at the Celcom-TN50 collaborat­ion ceremony.
 ??  ?? The KidSafe app.
The KidSafe app.
 ??  ?? “Usage Time” tab and select “Set Daily Device Time” to set the rules.
“Usage Time” tab and select “Set Daily Device Time” to set the rules.
 ??  ?? Parents can monitor and limit all apps installed.
Parents can monitor and limit all apps installed.
 ??  ?? Block any installed apps on your child’s device.
Block any installed apps on your child’s device.

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