No internet for Malaysian teens from 12am to 6am daily?

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is looking at emulating Japan and South Korea by preventing internet access for those under 17-years-old, between 12am and 6am.

Deputy Health Minister, Dr Lee Boon Chye, said the initiative was among the measures being studied by the government to curb teen addiction to online gaming and social media applications nationwide.

“The government is studying whether such a measure can be carried out here.

“There are also gaming providers which prevent users under-17 from accessing their games for a period of one to two hours.

“These are among the steps being studied to ensure that video game addition can be brought under control,” he said.

Dr Lee was responding to a question from Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-PBB Sibuti) in the Dewan Rakyat on whether addiction to games and social media applications are categorised as mental problems.

The minister said, the country’s Health and Morbidity Studies last year showed that 34.9 per cent of Malaysian children between 13 and 17 show a prevalence towards internet addiction.

He said checks by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on internet usage trends last year showed that 80 per cent of the 24.1 million users use the internet for social media.

“Checks also showed that the average user spends about four hours online daily,” he said.

He said addiction to video games and social media applications could have a negative impact on individuals, apart from being habit-forming.

He said the latest updates from the World Health Organisaiton in its International Classification of Diseases (11th series) stated that video game addiction is listed as a mental health illness.

“Social media addiction was previously classified as a mental disturbance,” he said.