array(1) { ["post_type"]=> string(7) "updates" }
June 12, 2024

All About Gacha: The Link Between Gacha Games and Gambling, and How They Manipulate You

This article is written by our intern, Yuxin, an aspiring psychology student who specialises in curriculum and content creation for Media Literacy School Ever heard of the gaming term whaling? Whaling refers to when a player spends a significant amount of money on in-game purchases, and is typically seen in Gacha games. Even though whales represent a mere 1-2% of players, 50-70% of the revenue —majority of the revenue— generated can come from these whales. This can seem alarming at first glance (rightfully so) and it makes one question what video games, or more specifically Gacha games, have to offer that is so tempting that whales willingly pour their savings into them.  What are Gacha games? Originating from the word “Gachapons”, which are capsule machines from Japan, is the term Gacha. Gacha games have taken the mobile gaming industry by storm, with elements of it virtually in every popular mobile game.  In Gacha games, you can never directly get what you want. Instead, Gacha games require you to spend in-game currency to roll (ie., draw) from a pool of items for a certain item or character you want. These items are essentially what you need to progress further in the game. Whilst Gacha games will never let you leave empty handed —rolling always gets you something in return— you can only hope that by some miracle, you obtain the item that you desire. Unfortunately, the most valuable items are usually the hardest to get, as there is less probability of drawing them.  Gacha has become an incredibly popular way for games to be monetized, causing Gacha games to teeter dangerously along the lines of being unethical.  The issue with Gacha: Is it gambling?
Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash
  Countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have banned Gacha games entirely, labelling it as “illegal gambling”. In fact, Japan, where Gacha originated from, has entirely banned “Kompu Gacha” (also known as Complete Gacha, a system in Gacha where players are required to collect specific and multiple items through the Gacha system to obtain one final rare item) because of the media pressure and how similar it is to gambling. Evidently, whether Gacha is gambling has been a topic of controversy ever since its rise in recent years.  One similarity between Gacha and gambling is their definition. Gambling is defined as risking something of value to obtain something valuable that is mostly determined by luck. This is unfortunately applicable to Gacha, especially when one uses actual money to buy in-game currency to roll for items. Both risk something; Gacha risks in-game currency and gambling risks money. But the line blurs even further when you use money to buy in-game currency, and perhaps you should question if you’re essentially gambling. Another similarity between the two is that both are made to be highly addictive. Both are able to lure you in with the temporary highs of winning, triggering the reward centre in your brain to release dopamine, such that you associate this activity with positive emotions and will soon find yourself longing for more. They exploit the emotional state of your minds, feeding you with overwhelming emotions like uncertainty, satisfaction and frustration. It can be easy for both to become a habit and eventually an unhealthy addiction. Many studies have shown a positive correlation between loot boxes —also a type of Gacha mechanism— and problematic gaming and gambling, especially paid loot boxes.  A stark difference between the two is the outcome. When you gamble and lose, you walk away empty handed (and potentially, “empty pocketed” too). However when you roll in Gacha, you always get a random item at the end even if it was not what you wanted. Therefore, some argue that Gacha is not gambling because you technically never “lose”.  Perhaps what makes Gacha games more predatory than gambling is the innocent facade they have. While Gacha games are objectively less harmful than gambling as money is not always involved, many of us are not half as wary as we should be of Gacha games. For instance, gambling is regulated by law and has age restrictions, making everyone more cautious at even the thought of gambling. In contrast, Gacha games are harder to regulate and age restrictions are more lax. Gacha games are also more accessible and most are free to download. For youths, they may lack the maturity and understanding of how insidious Gacha games can be, and unknowingly be taken advantage of.  While Gacha is different from traditional gambling, I argue it is worthwhile to be aware of its dangers and be cautious. How do Gacha games hook you? Why do people spend so much money? Game developers are getting increasingly good at monetizing their games, with many tricks up their sleeves. Below are some ways Gacha games exploit players, which could explain why people willingly spend so much on them:  1. Sunk Cost Fallacy. Would you be willing to give up on a game if you already spent $3000 on it?  Many players are reluctant to give up on the game, especially after they have spent a good deal of money, time and effort on the game. In fact, they may feel inclined to pump in even more money and effort into the game since “they already did it, and giving up now would mean their previous investments were not worth it”. It is the last ditch attempt to save this “lost cause” that potentially creates a toxic cycle that exploits the player to no end. Humans, after all, naturally feel the impact of losses more than gains, and thus are more likely to make decisions based on past costs rather than future gains —an effect known as loss aversion. 2. Making it hard to progress without spending money.  “Make sure that your games aren’t too skill based. I made that mistake myself. A too skill based game, you don’t get people to pay you, because there’s no reason to.” was what Tribeflame CEO Torulf Jernström warned other game developers at a conference back in 2016. Game developers deliberately make the games less skill based, such that the players can’t totally rely on their abilities but have to spend money if they want to progress. 3. Social Proof. Often used in sales and marketing, social proof refers to the social phenomenon where people tend to copy the behaviour of others to behave “correctly" in a certain situation.  The endless videos online of whales spending exorbitant amounts to roll, and sometimes getting incredibly lucky, promote this behaviour as the norm, when in actuality whales were never the majority of the player base. Many players are affected when they see the collection of other players. They tend to feel FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and envious of others’ collections, and can become convinced that said item is essential for their progress in-game. Coupled with the fact that people in their gaming community could be raving over the item, many can become determined to obtain the item even if it means spending money.  Case in study: Genshin Impact
Photo by E_clair 
  Perhaps you remain unconvinced by the power Gacha games possess, allow me to plead my case using one of the most, if not the most, successful and popular Gacha game on the market —Genshin Impact by miHoYo.  Now make no mistake, the success of this game was not by luck. Not by a long shot. First launched in 2020, Genshin Impact proved its worth by becoming the fastest mobile game to reach $5 billion in global consumer spend. Popular streamers like RazerNinjas have admitted to spending over USD 100,000 on Genshin Impact. In recent years, The Straits Times have also reported on a case where a father found out his daughter had used his credit card and spent around SGD 20,000 on the game behind his back. While this game is technically “free to play”, it is evident that many players get lured into becoming a “pay to win” player instead.  Some of the tactics Genshin Impact uses are below: 1. Giving you free pulls at the start of the game to introduce you to the Gacha system. A Beginner’s Banner is introduced and there is a discounted rate for the player to try pulling for the first time. This is similar to casinos giving you free pots to get you started. 2. Making you convert multiple currencies (Genesis Crystals, Primogems, Acquaint Fates, Intertwined Fates etc.) around such that you easily lose track of the actual amount you are spending. There will never be an option to directly buy pulls with money.  3. Incentivising sharing your pulls. There are countless videos online specifically on Genshin Impact’s Gacha. Many fans would flock to their favourite streamers just to watch them whale (spending a significant amount of money on in-game purchases) and pull for characters. Rewards are also given to players who share their pulls. This could encourage FOMO in other players, and normalise spending large amounts of money on Gacha.  4. Creating a sense of urgency. There are time-limited banners that feature specific characters that cannot be obtained in any other way. If one were to miss the banner, they would have to wait for the next banner rotation that could take more than a year before they could try pulling for the specific character again. Hence, many players may spend money in a moment of desperation to get the character they want. 5. Having daily commissions. Daily commissions are short and simple missions you have to complete daily in return for primogems, which are needed for rolling on banners. The daily commissions aim to get this game to become your daily routine and eventually your habit, such that you keep coming back to the game.  While some of these tactics are used by non-Gacha games as well, they are especially used by Gacha games like Genshin Impact. Hence, combined with the exceptionally well designed game mechanics, graphics and storyline, it is no wonder that Genshin Impact is where it is today.  What has been done to regulate Gacha games? Apart from certain countries banning Gacha completely, most Gacha games have implemented and respect the “pity system”, as well as disclose the chances of getting each specific item.  The pity system refers to the guarantee of obtaining certain items (usually the rarer items) after a certain number of failed attempts at rolling. For instance, Genshin Impact guarantees a 5 star character at the 90th draw. This essentially puts a cap on the maximum a player can spend on to get a particular item in game to prevent overspending on a single character.  “Soft pity” also exists, while usually unofficial and not announced by the game developer themselves, it is usually assumed that the higher the number of the failed attempts, the higher chances you already have of obtaining the item. Below is an example of soft pity in Genshin Impact.
Photo by YuminaNirvalen
  As can be seen in the above graph, the probability of pulling a five-star character in Genshin Impact drastically increases from 73 rolls onwards, illustrating the soft pity system where after a certain amount of pulls, your chances increase exponentially. 
Genshin Impact Banner: Some games disclose the probabilities of winning each item
  The probabilities of getting each item are usually disclosed as well. This helps the player to make informed decisions and have a better gauge based on the chances of obtaining each item. Conclusion Putting aside its link to gambling, Gacha by itself is not “wrong”. It is critical to see its dangers. Despite the regulations, every game company is a business model. To put it starkly, every business’ main goal is always to make you spend money. When the new impossibly well designed game you’ve downloaded is conveniently free, you had best believe that this “free to play” game is going to stop at nothing to tempt you to spend.  Spending money on physical games is in no way “better” or “superior” over online games. While whaling in a game should typically not be encouraged especially to youths, it should also not be looked down upon and mocked. Each to their own, right? When done fully aware of the consequences and having the financial means to support such a hobby, I believe there is no harm. Ultimately, it's up to consumers to be aware and discerning to make informed choices.   References
  1. Akshon Esports. (2022, April 9). Why Are Gacha Games So Good At Making You Spend Money? [Video]. YouTube.
  2. Atrioc. (2021, September 29). How Gacha Games Trick Players Into Spending Thousands [Video]. YouTube.
  3. Betable Blog. (2012, May 25). Why Kompu Gacha Was Banned. Retrieved from Game Developer:
  4. Chill with Aster. (2022, January 16). How Genshin Makes its Gacha Addicting: The Casino Psychology [Genshin Impact Meta Analysis] [Video]. YouTube.
  5. Ciggy Snake. (2023, July 8). How Gacha Games Breed Gambling Addicts [Video]. YouTube.
  6. Daniel Griffiths. (2024, February 1). Genshin Impact is the fastest ever game to reach $5 billion consumer spend. Retrieved from Pocket Gamer:,%2Dparty%20Android%20app%20outlets).
  7. Grguric. M. (2024, March 12). What Are Mobile Game Whales and How to Catch Them? Retrieved from Udonis:
  8. Lakić, N., Bernik, A., & Čep, A. (2023). Addiction and Spending in Gacha Games. Information, 14(7), 399.
  9. Montiel, I., Basterra-González, A., Machimbarrena, J. M., Ortega-Barón, J., & González-Cabrera, J.(2023, January 7). Loot box engagement: A scoping review of primary studies on prevalence and association with problematic gaming and gambling. Retrieved from PLOS ONE:
  10. Mrwhosetheboss. (2022, October 1). How mobile games are designed to SCAM you [Video]. YouTube.
  11. Pon Staff. (2023, April 12). The Anchoring Effect and How it Can Impact Your Negotiation. Retrieved from Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School:
  12. Simon Parkinson. (2023, January 6). Gacha Games - What Are They and Why are They So Exciting? Retrieved from Student Computers:,of%20excitement%20to%20the%20game.
  13. Washington Journal of Law. (2022, December 7). Glorified Gambling: Moral and Legal Issues Within the Gacha Gaming Industry. Retrieved from:,of%20virtual%20currency%20should%20be.
  14. (2024). Why are we likely to continue with an investment even if it would be rational to give it up? Retrieved from The Decision Lab:
All Months
All Categories
  • June 2024
  • May 2024
  • March 2024
  • February 2024
  • July 2023
  • April 2023
  • December 2022
  • April 2020
  • March 2020
  • February 2020
  • January 2020
  • December 2019
  • May 28, 2024

    What You Need to Know About Concert Scams – My Experience as a “Victim”

    (Reader mode is recommended for optimal viewing on mobile devices.)  We had Coldplay in January, Ed Sheeran in February, Taylor Swift in March and Bruno Mars in April. The 4th year of the 2020s began with a bang, with our island nation hosting 4 major concerts over just 4 months - a record for the country. These concerts brought in hundreds of millions to the Singapore economy, but the millions lost to concert scams dampened these numbers. Now that we can finally take a breather from sweaty mosh pits and long merchandise lines, what can we learn from these four months about staying safe against concert scams?  Scammers are getting smarter by the day, and their tactics are ever-evolving. Since it was hard to pinpoint all the scammer tactics from articles and TikTok videos, I decided to let myself get “scammed”. Before I begin, perhaps it will be worthwhile to first understand the basics of staying safe from concert scams and to understand the most common scam tactics before continuing this article about its evolved forms. In mid-March, K-pop idol IU sold out 2 nights for her Singapore stop for the H.E.R. World Tour held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. With many still scrambling for tickets to hear the soloist’s heavenly vocals in person, scammers have swooped in to take advantage of fans’ desperation for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet her. I posed as one of many desperate fans on Carousell and Telegram, 2 of the most common e-commerce scam platforms. Over 2 weeks, I  messaged countless sellers to observe how scams evolve in real time.   


    Starting strong with Singapore’s top online marketplace, Carousell. There were so many concert ticket scams on this site that Carousell had to ban the sale of any tickets for the Taylor Swift concert earlier this year. However, they did not ban the sale of IU tickets on the site, so here are some of the tactics scammers have used this time around and how to combat them. 

    1. Who’s the owner of the account? Check the legitimacy of the account you are dealing with.

    A new scammer tactic is for scammers to buy Carousell accounts from verified users. This meant scammers could now act under the guise of having numerous good reviews and a fully verified account from Carousell while being harder to track down as the details of the bought account would not belong to them. If a user has many reviews left for them on their account but has little to no sold listings left, chances are the account was bought and then cleared to be used for scamming people. Despicable, but it happens.
    Example of a Carousell account with several reviews but little to no prior sold listings
      If you are looking to deal with any such users, proceed at your own risk as there is a good chance of you being scammed of hundreds of dollars for non-existent tickets. 

    2. Helping a friend to sell tickets, but the friend can’t sell the tickets themselves? Be cautious when dealing with sellers who are not the actual owners of the tickets.

    If the Carousell seller stated that they are helping a friend to sell their tickets, that is a red flag for you. Of course, I don’t doubt that this might happen for some, but it is often a cover-up for a scam that lurks beneath the surface. I came across multiple sellers who claimed to be helping their friend sell tickets and when I texted them, I was quickly referred to their “friend” on Telegram, where I would then be told to transfer money for the ticket. A quick check with a phone-checker bot told me that the friend’s number was not a Singaporean number, raising another red flag. Many scammers would be based overseas so that they would be safer from the Singapore law.  Another variation of this scam is for the seller to ask you to message them on Telegram or WhatsApp after chatting on Carousell. There should be no real reason why they are unable to keep chatting on Carousell as the app already has all the functions one would need to solidify a deal. As long as you do not remain chatting with the seller on the Carousell app, chances are they are a scammer.
    Screenshot of my conversation with a potential seller who suggests to switch to using the Telegram messaging platform
      Many “sellers” are victims as well, since scammers might make these “sellers” their money mules without their knowledge. Scammers can recruit oblivious money mules by promising them a commission fee for every “sale” they make. 
    Screenshot of potential scammers looking for 'Carousell helpers'
    Some ‘money mules’ are actually unaware that they are helping potential scammers
      Not sure what a money mule is? They are defined as someone who allows criminals to control their accounts or help them perform transactions. This is not a new occurrence, with more than 19,000 individuals arrested as money mules between 2020 to 2022 alone. A surge in the demand for concert tickets to widely acclaimed artists has led to a surge in money mules, more than the law can keep up for now. Therefore, you must be vigilant and refrain from revealing any personal information, including your Paynow number or bank account number, until the actual transaction.

    3. Why don’t you want to exchange reviews? Be cautious around sellers who act suspiciously.

    Undoubtedly, reviews of a seller or buyer make them seem more legitimate and trustworthy. Of course, it would be suspicious if a seller refused to write a review for you as a buyer. Scammers use this tactic to prevent you from being able to track them after they get your money. It would do you good to initiate the exchange of reviews before transacting with the seller. At the end of the day, the main tip to protect yourself from such scams is to simply stop interacting and not buy from them if they raise any suspicions. 


    For my fellow Gen-Zs, Telegram has mostly taken over as the main messaging app, with the added function of Telegram Channels allowing people from all walks of lives to chat with each other. Now, Telegram Channels are used for selling concert tickets too. It was ranked the third most commonly used platform for e-commerce scams in 2023, so don’t take this messaging app lightly! 

    1. Why can’t you send normal pictures? Sellers who send self-destructing pictures of their tickets might be scammers.

    Self-destructing pictures of tickets are one of the biggest red flags when buying tickets from Telegram. Typically, this means that the “sellers” don’t want you to scrutinise the picture too closely since the ticket is photoshopped or stolen from another legitimate seller. It also adds another level of security for the “sellers” as potential buyers will not be able to screenshot the picture as proof that they were scammed. If the scammer refuses to send a normal picture of the tickets, it’s a sign for you to back out of the deal. I tried to call out a scammer on their use of self-destructing pictures, and they got defensive real fast. This is another scammer tactic, where they get aggressive and try to gaslight you into thinking you are in the wrong for being suspicious.
    Screenshot of conversation with a potential scammer who sent me a self-destructing photo of the tickets on Telegram
      I was never truly gaslit as I was fully aware of this, but I have seen some victims who did almost get scammed. Stand your ground, if they were not scammers it should be no problem to provide a normal picture of the ticket. 

    2. Is that your real name? Be suspicious of scammers who have weird usernames.

    Telegram users with emojis or simply weird usernames should be a red flag for you. Think about those around you who use Telegram, do their Telegram usernames make sense? Typically, a normal Telegram user will have some variation of their name or a nickname as their username, not a string of emojis or a weird mix of half a name and a bunch of numbers. 

    3. That does not look like a real person… Do not interact with sellers who have heavily filtered or generated profile pictures. 

    Some scammers have started to create profile pictures through the use of AI-generated images. After all, having a face to match the person you are talking to makes them more “authentic” and hence, believable. However, if the picture looks fake or unnerving, trust your instincts and stop interacting with them. Some scammers will steal the profile pictures of unknowing users to make themselves seem more believable. Take note of their speech mannerisms and how suspicious they act as you chat with them before proceeding with the deal. 
    An account with a profile picture generated using deepfake technology, which later proved to be a scammer's account
      Disclaimer: the above accounts have been proven to be throwaway accounts created by scammers.

    General scammer tactics across all platforms

    There were many overlapping scammer tactics between the different platforms.

    1. Are those tickets for real? Make sure the tickets are realistic.

    It’s customary for buyers to ask for proof of a seller’s tickets whenever they are interested in buying tickets. Some scammers would pose as buyers to get pictures of official tickets to use for scamming purposes. Others will edit these pictures to show a fake row or seat number so that buyers will not be suspicious when seeing multiple accounts selling the same ticket. However, sometimes these scammers misjudge the seating capacity of the concert venues. This leads to tickets for non-existent rows or seats. So when you ask to see proof of a ticket, check the number of rows and seats and make sure neither is too large. It might help if you join a Telegram channel for that concert’s ticket sales and ask around if the other members of the group think that the ticket seems legitimate. (That’s what I did.) If you do choose to do this, be sure that the group has at least a thousand members as the chances of it being a group for the scammers to trap you in their schemes is much smaller. 

    2. Why do these tickets look fake? Check all photos of ticket proof before dealing with the seller.

    As mentioned above, tickets can easily be photoshopped. This means that when checking the ticket, it's crucial to scrutinise every text. I saw a particular case where the ticket seemed authentic but upon zooming in, I noticed that the bottom of a single line of text was cut off, but just barely. This small error in the ticket was what convinced me that the seller was a scammer.
    The bottom line of text was cut off, as seen on an e-ticket that was sent to me by a scammer
      Of course, not every Photoshopped ticket is as hard to identify as the one I saw, but still, it doesn’t hurt to be more meticulous when dishing out hundreds for a single ticket. Be sure to check for the font used in the E-ticket too, especially for the seat row and seat number. Sometimes, the alignment would be fine but the scammer was unable to find the right font to replace the original words. Likewise, these differences can be subtle, such as the text being just slightly thicker than the rest of the text, or the text having slightly better resolution than the rest of the text. 

    3. How have I not known of this feature before? Check the features of the Singapore Ticketmaster account before believing what a seller tells you.

    If a seller claims that they will transfer the ticket to your Ticketmaster account, run. While it is possible overseas, the Singapore Ticketmaster site does not allow one to transfer tickets. We are only allowed to receive tickets. 
    The Singapore Ticketmaster website will only allow you to receive ticket transfers
      Thus, a local ticket seller will be unable to transfer you any tickets. Dealing with overseas sellers means you are unable to verify the ticket in person, so it is strongly advised against dealing with them.

    4. I didn’t know that there were such tickets! Make sure you know how the tickets are issued before accepting the ticket.

    Example of a mobile ticket, which does not exist in Ticketmaster Singapore
      If the seller provides a screenshot of a mobile ticket, put your guard up since it is quite rare for  Ticketmaster Singapore to issue mobile tickets as compared to other countries. Double check with Ticketmaster if the concert that you are buying tickets for is issuing mobile tickets. As long as it is not a picture of a typical e-ticket or a physical ticket, you are advised to proceed with caution!  That said, an even bigger red flag is when the seller does not provide proof of their ticket at all. I have yet to see this happen on Carousell, but on Telegram some scammers will tell buyers that they can “just check the ticket when we meet up”. To save yourself the emotional rollercoaster, just stop interacting when this red flag comes up. 

    5. Having access to a seller’s Ticketmaster account does not guarantee that you have not been scammed. It’s not over ‘til it’s over! 

    Some scammers will allow you to have the login details of their Ticketmaster account as proof that they are selling you authentic tickets. However, the scammer can easily download the PDF file of the e-ticket before handing the reins of their account over to you. This allows them to sell the ticket to multiple buyers even though you have their account. In this case, it would be better to accompany the seller to one of the Ticketmaster box offices to upgrade the e-ticket for a physical ticket. That way, you can verify that the ticket is real while also eliminating the risk of an e-ticket barring your entry to the concert. That can happen if someone else with the e-ticket enters the stadium before you. Stay cautious until you step into the stadium!

    6. E-tickets or Print-At-Home tickets have a much higher risk of being forged, as far as possible opt to buy physical tickets. (Plus they are a good keepsake!)

    Sometimes, you don’t have to look far to identify modified tickets. It can just be a matter of checking the picture’s resolution. If you zoom in on the picture of the ticket and the text is pixelated (of course, within reason - to some extent any screenshot will be pixelated, especially for fine print.), proceed with caution. It can be a sign that you are dealing with a scammer. Take a look at some of the pictures attached throughout the article, and you will see how the pictures are often pixelated and hard to read. The low quality of the pictures is a sign of them being tampered with, so steer clear of sellers with such pictures.
    Example of a low-resolution pixelated 'ticket' evidence
      The above picture has been tampered with, evident from the pixels at the sides of the picture. It is important to be especially careful when dealing with sellers who provide such proof as they may not be truthful about the validity of their tickets. That said, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible to forge pictures of physical tickets. I have seen modified images of physical tickets that honestly looked legitimate until I had zoomed in. At the end of the day, regardless of what kind of ticket you are sent, check through it thoroughly before making payments (after receiving the ticket, of course).

    7. Do not make payments (even in-person) to Shopee Pay QR codes or bank accounts without cross-checking the seller’s identity. (Who even uses Shopee Pay QR codes anyway?)

    Scammers might use Shopee Pay QR codes or even bank transfers to receive your money while being based overseas. If your seller asks for payment through these platforms, ask for alternative payment methods. You know the drill, if they refuse or are hesitant to do so, do not interact with them further!  

    Staying Safe

    All in all, this is probably the most important part of the article. For all the scammer tactics out there to trick buyers of their money, there are simple-to-follow steps you can take to counter most of them. 

    1. Do not make deposits until you have a verified ticket with you. 

    This was mentioned in the complementary Instagram post that was made with this article, but it is by far the most important measure that any buyer would need to take to better protect themselves against scams. A major concern for sellers is that their buyers will back out of their deals at the eleventh hour, causing them to lose hundreds when they are unable to find a replacement. If you are a real fan of the artist, you will be able to prove how much of a fan you are without a deposit. Each fandom has its inside jokes and if the seller is also a real fan of the artist, they would understand said inside jokes and understand your point of view.  Even if you meet your seller in person, do not provide any payment until you have thoroughly verified the ticket. If it is an e-ticket, ask to meet the seller at the Stadium to accompany them to change it into a physical ticket. Once the e-ticket has been converted into a physical ticket, the e-ticket will become invalid. It helps if the seller is also going to the same concert. If this is the case, ask to enter the concert venue together and pay for the ticket only after you enter the venue together.  Of course, as purchasing resale tickets is a two-way street, respect your seller as you take steps to ensure your safety. Clearly state your reasoning as to why you are taking such measures and ask for your seller’s understanding. 

    2. Check if the number you are transferring to is a Singaporean number.

    Get the seller to use this Telegram bot to verify that they are based in Singapore. If they are a local seller, even if they scam you they will be subjected to Singapore law. Being scammed by overseas scammers is a dead end, as it is difficult for the Singapore law to reach them. Do note that as of this writing, the bot is still in its development stages so there may be some glitches. As long as you run the seller’s number through the bot a few times, it should be safe.  To verify that your seller is using a Singaporean number, they can just activate the bot on their side and they can screenshot the verification message from the bot. To use the bot multiple times, just clear the chat and you should be able to use the bot again.  While there is no way to be entirely safe from scams, these tips can protect you against the majority of the concert scams out there. Some of these tips are also applicable to any online transaction, especially on sites that have been flagged as high-risk for scams such as Carousell and Facebook Marketplace. It is important to remain vigilant and take extra measures to minimise the risk of being scammed.  Stay safe and enjoy your concerts! 

    May 23, 2024

    Unplugged Activities: Diversifying Beyond Screens

    In today’s digital age, your child might often gravitate towards screen-based entertainment, sometimes to the point of overlooking the value of quality time spent with others (in real life). We believe that by exposing them to a diverse variety of activities which appeal to their interests and intelligences, they would be encouraged to spend less time on their devices. In this article, we will explore alternative activities designed to promote social interactions with friends and family, inspire creativity, build strengths and overall provide memorable experiences without the heavy reliance on electronic devices. Head here for the full article!
    March 5, 2024

    Point of Contention: Sharenting is Caring?

    (Reader mode is recommended for optimal viewing on mobile devices.) 

    What is “Sharenting”?

    [caption id="attachment_454" align="aligncenter" width="451"] Local influencer Naomi Neo plays a Halloween ghost prank on her son Kyzo. She often features Kyzo on her TikTok account. Photo: TikTok[/caption] A portmanteau of “share” and “parenting”, the Oxford English Dictionary defines sharenting as “the practise of sharing news, images, or videos of one’s children on social media websites”. These include pictures of their new-borns in the crib, happy family moments, and milestones such as the child’s first day in school. It is an increasingly common trend among digitally savvy parents. Some also create social media accounts for their children to better facilitate the process. According to cross-cultural research conducted by internet security company, AVG:
    • 81% of mothers with babies aged two and below has posted a picture of their child before.
    • 5% of mothers created a social media account for their babies.
    Another study by Nominet showed that the average UK parents posted nearly 1,500 pictures of their children by the time they are five years old. While data on sharenting in Singapore is still limited, many Singaporean parents are clearly onboard with the trend. It is also not rare to come across Instagram accounts of children being managed by Singaporean parents.

    Pause & Think: How often do you sharent and what do you post?

    Benefits of Sharenting      

    [caption id="attachment_455" align="alignnone" width="531"] Kyzo has an Instagram account managed by his mother Naomi Neo with over a hundred posts and a sizable following. Photo: Instagram    [/caption] Beyond the trendiness, there are many good reasons to sharent:
    1. Record your child’s special moments.
    2. Stay connected to friends and family.
    3. Receive advice from friends and family.
    4. Raise awareness of your child’s needs.
    5. Manage your child’s social media presence.
    Parents across the globe have shared heart-warming tales about how sharenting has helped tremendously. It is little wonder that it is a growing phenomenon.

    Pause & Think: What reason motivates you or your friends to sharent?

    Dangers of Sharenting   

    [caption id="attachment_456" align="alignnone" width="379"] Local influencer Sarah Cheng-De Winne received backlash for sharing her daughter’s emotional distress. This reignited national conversation on the ethics and dangers of sharenting. Photo: TikTok[/caption] Most social media platforms bar users under the age of 13 because of the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The law was passed in 1998 to combat the collection of adolescent personal information amidst a rise in targeted marketing. Unfortunately, the protections do not extend to information that was sharented. This is dangerous as adolescent targeted marketing remains a big market. YouTube and Epic Games paid hefty fines for COPPA violations in 2019 and 2022 respectively. US regulators alleged that these companies illegally collected personal information and used it to manipulate children into making purchases. Furthermore, constant camera attention might be unhealthy for children’s development. Research indicated that primary school students who were filmed tend to be distracted and self-conscious. The camera creates an expectation of evaluation in the children, and this negatively impacts intrinsic motivation and creativity. Older children might even suppress their natural behaviour and emotions to influence views, likes or comments from online strangers. Emotional suppression has been linked to mental health problems such as depression and should be avoided.

     Pause & Think: What are some of your concerns about sharenting?


    Like any other digital phenomenon, sharenting has its advantages and dangers. Momfluencer Bobbi Althoff is well aware of the dangers and makes sure that her children never appear on her page. The identities of her two daughters are a well-kept secret today but it wasn’t always like this. Her eldest daughter’s name, birth date, photos used to be freely available on her social media account. However, Bobbi became worried about her children’s safety after a run-in with mean comments in one of her videos. Overnight, she deleted all the posts with her daughter’s information. Read more about Bobbi and other momfluencers here. We do not have to go to the same length as Bobbi. The key here is to make an informed decision about when and what to sharent. Here are some of our recommendations:
    1. Ensure that the social media account the child appears on is private.
    2. Do not share sensitive information such as the child’s name, birthday, and school etc.
    3. Do not post content that might embarrass the child.
    4. As your child grows older, respect their requests to remove or not post content about them.
    5. Consider editing the content such as using emojis to cover the child’s face.

    Pause & Think: What is one step you will take or recommend today?


    Agbo, N. B. (2018). The effects of surveillance and evaluation expectation on the creativity of primary school pupils. British Journal of Education, 6(9), 25–36. This article was written by our intern, Yong Han, who conducted research & development for Media Literacy School. 
    February 27, 2024

    Escaping the Dangers of Echo Chambers

    (Reader mode is recommended for optimal viewing on mobile devices.)  This article is written by our intern, Yuxin, an aspiring psychology student who specialises in curriculum and content creation for Media Literacy School.

    What are Echo Chambers?

    Like its name suggests, many liken echo chambers as a mental chamber, trapping its prisoners in their own minds. In an echo chamber, opposing views are forbidden and banished. Instead, their beliefs bounce off the walls and are echoed back to them, effectively reinforcing the person’s views. Online, echo chambers prove to be even more insidious. The ever-developing algorithm pushes certain things away, and we won’t even know what we missed.  One truth about the internet? Try as you might, you are never truly in control. 

    The Danger of Echo Chambers and Their Impacts

    Alright, our views get stronger, but so what? Are they really as much of a monster people make them out to be? What is so wrong with echo chambers? 

    How are they so dangerous?

    Those who fall into echo chambers can find it incredibly hard to get out there. This phenomenon is not to be brushed off as “ignorance” or “naivety”. Contrary to popular belief, many people stumble into the echo chambers doing extensive research! So how, you ask, how did it go so wrong? People can fall victim to echo chambers when they unknowingly research disinformation. Additionally, with scattered information left around like bread crumbs on the internet, many scour the internet and form an opinion as they connect their own dots, be it wrong or not. With extensive research done, many form an exceptionally strong opinion and belief that they are right, falling helplessly deeper into the echo chamber. Knowing that they have done their research, many even coin critics as “uninformed” or even “corrupted”.  In an echo chamber, one’s belief can become strongly tied to their identity. They label their belief as part of their identity. While this may sound harmless, it is anything but that. When someone’s belief is so strong it becomes part of them, it becomes close to impossible to change their mind. Ultimately, you cannot prove an identity wrong.  While there are certain regulations online to prevent echo chambers, misinformation and disinformation from spreading, there are inevitable loopholes. When these information are presented as beliefs, these regulations become powerless against them. Besides, due to the difficulty in defining misinformation, regulations that aim to take down such content are weak and even susceptible to exploitations. This lowers the social implications for people intentionally spreading disinformation as well. 

    What are their impacts?

      One major implication of echo chambers is how it promotes the spread of disinformation. Not to be confused with misinformation, which could be an honest mistake, disinformation refers to the deliberate intent to mislead. After one has fallen into an echo chamber, the impact does not stop there. The victims turn into the perpetrator; the victims do not merely take in information, together with fellow believers, they ‘co create an adversarial fantasy’ (Diaz Ruiz, C., & Nilsson, T. , 2023) Furthermore, echo chambers distort a person’s perspective and cause them to be closed off to other sides of an argument. Due to their belief being so strong, they firmly believe they are right and automatically reject any opposing views. This can lead to an increase in social and political polarisation and extreme views, further dividing people online and encouraging the “us vs them” narrative. This can become a ticking time bomb for society’s peace as the social fabric becomes threatened. 

    Example of an echo chamber:

    For instance, an infamous echo chamber is the flat earth echo chamber. Flat earthers believe that the earth is flat, and not spherical. They claim that the spherical earth is merely an unproven theory or conspiracy. According to a study, as of July 2021, youtube channels about the flat earth have amassed around 4 million subscribers collectively. One may wonder how a person can believe something so absurd and ridiculous when there is overwhelming evidence proving the earth is, in fact, not flat.  The flat earth theory came about in recent decades. In summary, this idea of flat earth gained popularity because people began to doubt science. Science and technology was advancing faster than most laymen could catch up in understanding. For some, as compared to a century ago, science has become something so incomprehensible that they could neither believe nor accept. This led to some flat earthers turning to naive empiricism. ‘Naive empiricism is the belief that knowledge emerges from personal observation’. They use real-life experiences like feeling if the earth is spinning below their feet or the flat horizon to justify the flat earth theory. They thus reject facts and objectifiable knowledge, believing only their personal experiences. Hardly ashamed of their belief, many of them proudly identify as a flat earther. They judge their beliefs as "ahead of time", and that eventually everyone else would come to realise that the earth was actually flat. This suggests that when their identity is tied so closely to their belief, convincing them otherwise is simply out of the question. 

    Social Media - Virality & Human Emotions

    In today’s digital age, social media has an increasing presence in our daily lives that can no longer be overlooked. The chances of falling victim to an echo chamber online is now a true danger we must acknowledge. So what are some characteristics of social media that makes it a place to encourage the formation of echo chambers? Firstly, the internet allows us to meet different people online from all over the world. It becomes all too easy to meet like-minded people online —they are quite literally a click away. This means no matter how absurd an idea is, one can always find someone online to agree with them, making the formation of echo chambers much easier.  Furthermore, youths today are extra vulnerable to echo chambers online. Youths, especially the younger children who are more or less chronically online these days, are bombarded with information from social media – which is not the most reliable source of information, to say the least. Many youths tend to follow whatever viral content they see blindly. If it’s viral, and the comment section is filled with netizens agreeing, it must be true…right? Well, there is a tendency of the "Black and White Thinking" - a thought pattern that makes people think in absolutes, and is highly generalised. They fail to capture the true nuanced nature an issue is in real life, pushing the idea that only one answer is right.  What they do not realise is the calculative nature of social media. Sure, many influencers post out of goodwill and share genuine advice, but I believe that even more influencers post with the sole intention of going viral. Social media platforms have algorithms that automatically favour viral content by recommending it more to people, worsening the situation. In fact, viral content may even start a trend and more people will post similar content in hopes of their posts gaining traction. This leads to a vicious cycle, as youths get bombarded with seemingly more content that may be unreliable, biassed or downright untrue.  And what type of content usually goes viral? Content that plays on people’s negative emotions. Emotions like insecurity, anger, sadness can be used merely as a tool to gain clicks and likes. These types of content go viral because of how relatable they can be, and many feel heard and validated as people connect over shared experiences and views.

    Recognising Echo Chambers & Common Tactics Used

    Common Tactics

    What are some common tactics used to reject opposing views? 
    1. They have “purity tests”. These “tests” ask for insiders to be loyal and devoted to their belief. On the other hand, the standards of these “tests” become more demanding for critics. Critics are often held to unreasonably high moral standards. Many are accused of being corrupted and having bad intentions, especially if they hold great power or have the ability to influence the masses. It becomes impossible for anybody disagreeing with them to pass these “tests”. 
    2. They reverse the responsibility of ensuring their opinions are factual to their critics. They do so by nitpicking the credibility of their critics and asking their critics to prove them wrong instead.
    3. They use partial truths, fake news, moral judgements and controversies to strengthen their arguments. 

    How do you know if you have become a victim?

    Five signs that you are in an echo chamber:
    1. Your community only has one perspective on the issue. This is common in echo chambers as they find it hard to accept other viewpoints.
    2. Strong emotional language is used. Elements like using all capital letters, exclamation marks, and strong superlatives are all tactics used by them to create a facade of close relationship with readers.
    3. Personal pronouns like “You” and “I” are used to involve the reader and relate to them more, creating a sense of community.
    4. The stand on an issue is supported by untrue, incomplete or overblown evidence. Echo chambers often are backed by weak arguments.
    5. Facts are ignored when they do not support the stand of the community. Being closed off to their detractors, no matter what credible evidence is presented before them, it is likely to be rejected.

    How to avoid echo chambers?

    Recognising the existence and danger of echo chambers is not nearly enough, for we must learn how to avoid them.  Firstly, you should cross check your evidence with multiple credible and verified sources. This way, you can avoid disinformation and form a fair opinion based on reliable evidence.  Secondly, you can engage in respectful and constructive discussions with people that have opposing views from you. By practising an open mind, you become less susceptible to echo chambers as you are able to critically think for yourself and form an unbiased or broad opinion. This can also be done through following channels or sources that provide opposing perspectives from you, as the algorithm on social media platforms may automatically leave them out of your feed. Additionally, we should be aware of a phenomenon called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias refers to our tendency to agree with information confirming our existing views. It is simply human nature to search for and favour information that confirms or supports our prior beliefs or values, and we may find it hard to accept new opinions immediately. Before forming an opinion, we must first be aware of our confirmation bias, and deduce whether it is affecting our judgement on the matter.


    Echo chambers are more insidious and complicated than most believe it to be. As this phenomenon becomes an inherent part of this developing digital age, I hope that this article sheds some light on how echo chambers work, the impact they can have and how to avoid it.   


    1. Allison Arteaga S. (2022, June 28) These red flags can let you know when you’re in an online echo chamber. UC Santa Cruz. Retrieved from
    2. Benson, T. (2023, January 20). The Small but Mighty Danger of Echo Chamber Extremism. Wired. Retrieved from
    3. Cabianca, P., Hammond, P., & Gutierrez, M. (2020, November 18). What is a Social Media Echo Chamber? The University of Texas at Austin, Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations. Retrieved from
    4. Diaz Ruiz, C., & Nilsson, T. (2023). Disinformation and Echo Chambers: How Disinformation Circulates on Social Media Through Identity-Driven Controversies. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 42(1), 18-35.
    5. Dhulipala. (2023, September 27). The echo chamber effect: How algorithms shape our worldview. Campaign Asia. Retrieved from
    6. GCF Global. (n.d.). What is an Echo Chamber? [Webpage]. Retrieved from
    7. Harris, J. (2020, February 19). Why People Think the World is Flat [Video]. YouTube.
    8. IESE Business School. (2021, June 16). Avoiding Echo Chambers: 5 Strategies To Beat Confirmation Bias. Forbes. Retrieved from:
    9. kaedee. (2023, June 9). The FYP: Your Personal Echo Chamber [Video]. YouTube.
    10. LearnFree. (2019, June 18). What is an Echo Chamber? [Video]. YouTube.
    11. MinuteVideos. (2016, December 28). Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers [Video]. YouTube.
    12. Science In The News. (2023). Facebook and the echo chamber: Scientists examine how social media affects political views. Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved from
    13. Sumsub. (2021, August 10). Filter Bubbles & Echo Chambers: How the Internet Affects Your Mind [Video]. YouTube.
    14. TED. (2011, May 2). Beware online "filter bubbles" | Eli Pariser [Video]. YouTube.
    15. TEDx Talks. (2019, April 9). Challenge The Echo Chamber | Adam Greenwood | TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells [Video]. YouTube.
    July 18, 2023

    Social Media, Healthy Use & Well-Being – A Curated Set of Reading Resources

    (Reader mode is recommended for optimal viewing on mobile devices.) Mental health & cyber wellness has become one of the top issues facing young people today. Trends point toward youths who are more stressed out, anxious and display greater signs of depression. The unhealthy use of digital devices and social media is seen to be one of the key predictors, causing lesser sleep, fear of missing out, social comparison, negative self-esteem and online aggression. We have curated a set of reading resources that helps explains how the fundamental business models of social media (such as targeted advertising & the attention economy) drive the design of social media features & usage patterns that compromise mental health. Read on to learn how to evaluate youths for addictive use of technology, identify depressive symptoms, and more importantly engage youths and manage use of social media practically.
    Description of Reading Title of Reading Link
    Brief Overview of Social Media Usage in Singapore The Complete Guide to Social Media Statistics in Singapore
    Benefits & Harms of Social Media Usage for Children The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families
    Addictive Nature of Social Media The Pursuit of "Likes"
    What Students are Posting Online Students Posting Their Teachers on Social Media: What is Wrong?
    The Dangers of Targeted Advertising for Children Advertisers Targeting Children Online
      We conduct regular professional development and cyber wellness programmes in schools, contact us to find out more today.  
    April 28, 2023

    Hyperpersonal Danger of Online Communication

    (Reader mode is recommended for optimal viewing on mobile devices.) It was a chilling moment when Mdm Kwek discovered that her 13-year-old daughter, Celestine, was talking to an online groomer. Celestine’s lady 'friend' had somehow twisted his way into her daughter’s confidence and convinced her to willingly share sensitive personal details. While encounters with online strangers might at times be romanticised in modern dramas such as K-drama Twenty Five Twenty One, it is important to understand how dire the situation might become if things go awry in real life. [gallery link="file" columns="1" size="full" ids="320"] Case Study In 2020, 13-year-old Celestine started talking to a woman named Carolana on Minecraft. They connected really well, and Celestine felt that Carolana truly understood her. Carolana always seemed supportive with messages such as “You can always tell me anything if it helps ok.” Within two weeks, they exchanged personal information such as real name, age, and family photos. One day, Celestine’s mother Mdm Kwek read these exchanges and came to a horrifying realisation. Carolana was actually a man and Celestine was being groomed. Read more here. Unfortunately, there are several other adolescents in Singapore who are in similar situations as Celestine. According to a report by DQ Institute released in the same year, roughly one in five Singaporean adolescents have experienced risky online contact, such as offline meetings with strangers or sexual contacts. So why exactly are online-cultivated relationships so appealing? First, let’s examine some myths about online communication and why they are not valid: [gallery link="file" columns="1" size="full" ids="400"] Misunderstandings of online communication could make us vulnerable to the threat of online stranger danger. It is hence important for us to acknowledge the power of the written word and online communication. Once we shed these dangerous assumptions, the next step is to understand exactly how close online friendships can happen. One way to do so is through the Hyperpersonal Model of Computer Mediated Communication. Hyperpersonal Model (Walther, 1996, 2021) [gallery link="file" columns="1" size="full" ids="421"] The core idea of the model is that digital features and limitations can promote personal intimate connections. Such connections, termed ‘hyperpersonal relationships’, form due to the absence of nonverbal cues and the asynchronous (not occurring at the same time) nature of online communication. Let’s return to the example of Celestine and the online groomer ‘Carolana’. Behind the screen Unbeknownst to Celestine, ‘Carolana’ has been carefully managing his image. He has time – online communication follows a different clock and rhythm from real life. His words need not match his true feelings as his facial expressions are hidden. For example, he can appear more sympathetic online than he would otherwise face to face. The ability to edit messages allows ‘Carolana’ to say the right words at the right time. Statements like “You are like me and I know you would never mean to hurt upset anyone unless they upset you” are especially powerful since Celestine was seeking emotional support. On the other end, Celestine makes decisions based on what is presented. In the absence of nonverbal cues, she tends to overinterpret message content and style when making judgements of personality and trustworthiness. The interpretations tend to be positive (and no wonder, given how much effort ‘Carolana’ spent curating his message!). This idealised image is unconsciously conveyed when Celestine replies to ‘Carolana’. This leads ‘Carolana’ to adjust his online image accordingly which then reinforces Celestine’s initial impression. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that repeats itself until the day when the ‘Carolana’ became Celestine’s most trusted confidante – even though they have never met before. Conclusion It is time for us to stop burying our heads in the sand and instead, fully acknowledge the draw of online communication. As digitalisation continues unabated, it is more important than ever to know who your child is talking to online. These individuals are not just passing or peripheral influences on your child. On the contrary, they might grow too close for both you and your child's comfort. Therefore, always remember: Online stranger danger is real! References Walther, J. B., & Whitty, M. T. (2021). Language, Psychology, and New Media: The Hyperpersonal Model of Mediated Communication at Twenty-Five Years. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 40(1), 120–135.   This article is written by our intern, Yong Han, who conducts research & development for Media Literacy School. 
    December 9, 2022

    ‘Tis the Season for Battle Passes

    (Reader mode is recommended for optimal viewing on mobile devices.) The holiday season is almost here, and you are probably looking forward to a well-deserved break and a nice family vacation. Excited to share your plans, you look around the house for your children. When you finally find them, they have their headphones on, and eyes glued to the screen. They are gaming and completely uninterested in what you have to say. If this sounds familiar, it is not your fault – the attention of teenagers has been captured by gaming companies. What many teenagers are concerned with nowadays are whether they can hit the highest rank before the season ends or finish grinding their battle passes. [gallery link="file" columns="1" size="large" ids="171"]

    Types of Gamers

    According to the self-determination theory, people game to fill one of three psychological needs:
    1. Competence - Experience of Mastery
    2. Relatedness - Sense of Belonging
    3. Autonomy - Ability to Choose
      Corresponding with the above needs are the following three types of players: Achievers, Befrienders and Free Spirits. Can you identify which category your child belongs to? [gallery link="file" columns="1" size="full" ids="173"]

    Seasonal Gameplay: Keeps Players Coming Back with New Content

    Live-service games such as Valorant and Overwatch 2 are adopting a “season”-driven release schedule plus battle pass system. Each season lasts about 10-20 weeks (the specific duration depends on the game), and its start is marked by the release of new game content. Breaking the game up into seasons keeps it fresh and attracts new and old players who are Free Spirits. Changes can be anything from new game modes to new playable characters. Befrienders are also likely to rope their friends back in to experience the new season together. Furthermore, game progress is reset every season, so players who are Achievers must keep spending time on the game to maintain their rank. [gallery link="none" columns="1" size="full" ids="160"]

    Battle Passes: Reward Players and Encourage Non-stop Gaming  

    The battle pass is a tiered reward system that players can purchase to unlock additional content as they play. Desirable ‘skins’ (in-game cosmetics) and other bonuses are awarded when certain milestones are met. Players often spend hundreds of hours to complete or “grind” the entire battle pass and maximise its monetary value. Finishing the battle pass is considered an Achievement and a point of pride. The in-game cosmetics are also exclusive to the battle pass and cannot be purchased elsewhere. This makes it incredibly hard for Free Spirits to resist – they are afraid they will never possess the skin if they miss it now. This is problematic as on average, it takes a Valorant player about 1,800 hours to complete all four battle passes released in a year. That is 75 days of non-stop gaming. [gallery columns="1" link="file" size="full" ids="161"]


    Game companies are using these systems to increase player engagement and retention. This is part of the companies’ goal of extracting as much monetary value out of their players as possible. The more time players spend on a game, the more they might be tempted to spend on it. Seasonal gameplay and battle pass trap players by targeting their different needs. Drop the futile attempts to stop your child from gaming, and perhaps consider having a chat with them to understand their gaming motivations - Are they Achievers, Befrienders or Free Spirits? By understanding and speaking to your child’s needs, you might have more success in getting them onboard with your plans this holiday season. Outplay these companies at their own game! This article is written by our intern, Yong Han, who conducts research & development for Media Literacy School. His areas of research interests include video gaming, their psychological mechanisms and the impacts they have on users. 
    April 10, 2020

    Improving the Quality of Your Children’s Screen Time: Examples and Tips for Parents

    What is your child doing when he/ she uses devices and screens? Are there ways to choose better screen time? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend less than 2 hours of daily screen time for primary school children. It goes on to state that these should be “high-quality content”.
    1. How can parents choose "high quality content"?
    2. How can parents improve the “quality of screen time” for our children?

    1) Choose interactive screen time

    In general, interactive screen time will provide better stimulation and learning compared to passive reception.
    • Examples of passive screen time will be TV and videos
    • Examples of interactive screen time will be multi-player games, educational applications that require responses from the user & Google Map
    quality screen time cyber wellness singapore Five year-old Chase loves to hold the GPS when travelling. He loves selecting his favourite car and “navigating” it on the iPad. Occasionally he looks up and matches the surrounding landmarks to what he sees on the tablet. This visual interaction between screen and physical objects trains him to interpret a 3D environment from a 2D screen. Car journeys are much more engaging and healthy with such screen time. Some other examples of interactive screen time:
    • Taking photos and making videos instead of merely watching them
    • Exploring a trip destination with Google Earth
    quality screen time for children cyber wellness singapore While interactive screen time usually teaches better than passive screen time, it is also important to scrutinize the content.
    • Harmful interactive content (such as video games where players kill and commit crimes) will teach unhealthy practices more effectively compared to just movies of similar content.
    • Likewise, interactive prosocial behaviour is more effectively imparted in an interactive manner

    2) Interact with your child over screen time

    Besides choosing apps and programmes that are interactive, parents can also mediate in all screen time by watching programmes and playing games with their children. It will be even better if they follow up with questions to stimulate the children’s thinking. Eleven year-old Elizabeth interacts with her friends over online chats and Google +. One of her favourite sites showed a post that gives users a “sexy name” based on their month of birth. Her father (who interacts with her over Google +) talks to her about how “sexy names” promote a demeaning image and attract the wrong kind of friends. Elizabeth responds by blocking similar sites out of her own will. (2 years later, Elizabeth also distances herself from schoolmates who send her such content.) Research shows that when parents discuss negative content on screens with their children, the children fare just as well as those who do not encounter these negative content. quality screen time family conversations cyber wellness singapore In the digital age where it is difficult to ensure a sterile media environment for our children, interaction and processing is KEY to cyber wellness. Interactive screen-time is a powerful teaching tool for young children today. Do not allow it to shape your child’s mind in unintended ways. You can help your child get more out of technology. Look out for the parenting workshop “The Art & Science of Parenting in the Internet Age” on 29 May 2015. Parents will learn more practical tips to handle online activities during the June holidays and gain further understanding on how different games & apps can affect your child. Originally written for Innova Primary School