MOE to act on ‘lewd’ In­sta­gram ac­count

Ac­count, which was cre­ated last year, tar­gets girls in ju­nior col­leges

The New Paper - - NEWS - DAVID SUN

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion (MOE) has said it will take ac­tion against an In­sta­gram ac­count which tar­gets girls from ju­nior col­leges.

The ac­count in ques­tion, SgJCBabes, was cre­ated last year and posts pic­tures of fe­male stu­dents in uni­form, ac­com­pa­nied by lewd cap­tions.

Fol­low­ers of the pri­vate page are en­cour­aged to make in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments, which are then high­lighted on its In­stas­to­ries.

At time of writ­ing, the page has al­most 2,000 fol­low­ers and 13 posts.

Last De­cem­ber, the page moved to a new ac­count with a sim­i­lar han­dle.

As of last week, the new ac­count had more than 200 fol­low­ers and 28 posts.

A check on the page by The New Paper last week showed sev­eral ag­gres­sive sex­ual com­ments on the pho­tos of the girls.

These pho­tos – mostly in­no­cent ones of the fe­male stu­dents at birth­day par­ties or school sports days – ap­pear to have been taken from other so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Ju­nior col­lege stu­dents are typ­i­cally be­tween the ages of 16 to 18.

When con­tacted, an MOE spokesman told TNP that the safety and well-be­ing of stu­dents is their pri­or­ity.

“MOE is aware of the In­sta­gram page and have shared our con­cerns with Face­book (which owns In­sta­gram),” she said.

“We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor and work with rel­e­vant min­istries and agen­cies to take ac­tion against such sites.”

The spokesman added that in school, stu­dents are taught the im­por­tance of tak­ing pre­cau­tions on­line.

“As part of Cy­ber Well­ness ed­u­ca­tion, stu­dents are ad­vised to re­frain from re­veal­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on­line,” she said.

“They are also warned to be mind­ful of the pri­vacy set­tings for their so­cial me­dia ac­counts, and to re­port all in­ci­dents where their pho­to­graphs are mis­used.

“Schools also en­gage par­ents as part­ners in ed­u­cat­ing their chil­dren to be safe and dis­cern­ing users of dig­i­tal space.”

Chi­nese evening daily Lianhe Wan­bao re­ported last week that the prin­ci­pal of Catholic Ju­nior Col­lege had re­sponded to a mem­ber of the pub­lic who in­formed the school about the page.

The prin­ci­pal said the school would take the nec­es­sary ac­tions to en­sure the well-be­ing of the stu­dents in­volved.

Lawyer James Ow Yong of Kalco Law said that the ac­count holder and those who made lewd com­ments may have run afoul of the law.

Un­der sec­tion 509 of the Pe­nal Code, it is a crime to use any word or ges­ture to in­sult the mod­esty of a woman.

Mr Ow Yong said these in­cluded the in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments on such posts.

“The fact that the woman is a mi­nor is an ex­cep­tion­ally ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tor which may war­rant a cus­to­dial sen­tence,” he said.

Those who are found guilty of us­ing any word or ges­ture to in­sult the mod­esty of a woman can be fined, or jailed up to a year, or both.

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