iZ HERO: Dr Park Yuhyun

Dr Park Yuhyun was invited for a Master’s Tea session where we talked about her Social Initiative, Infollution Zero, as well as her story. 

Infollution is a term derived from Information Pollution, and key problems associated with it are game addiction, open access to obscene material, information overload and personal data protection. South Korea is the most infolluted country and has the highest internet penetration rate in the world. Gaming addiction reached its peak around 2005 to 2008 with highly addictive FPS (first person shooter) games like Sudden Attack. NAVER, Korea’s top web portal (their own version of Google, with all sorts of info like news) put up advertisements with statements like “If you want strong excitement”, masks pornography sites as MMORPG advertisements. While it was strictly speaking not illegal as the pornography star’s face was used in the advertisement, many young children or youths may unintentionally click on the advertisement as they believed it to be a link for games. Many crimes also show a correlation between youth sexual crimes and internet infollution, and 30% of sexual crime offenders in South Korea are under the age of 13. 

As such, Dr Park decided to focus on digital citizenship education, asking the question, “How can our children be HEROes in the digital age?”. She focuses on empowering children to make the right choices rather than restricting their use of the internet.

In Singapore, an iZHERO Alliance comprising academics, corporations, NGOs like Touch Cyber Wellness and the Media Development Authority exists and this collaboration has resulted in an outreach to 25,000 primary school kids in 60 primary schools across Singapore. They came up with a programme for assembly talks that encourages the power of the individual and honours individuals to become the champion of causes in the context of cyber wellness. Currently, izHERO is creating a “must-have” programme for young kids in school before they engage with social media and the internet in general. This would be a training ground for children before they go out into the real world and uses games and interactive learning to get children to act upon values. In addition, an iZHERO fund was founded where the kids can use game points to buy items and donate them to other children in real life (which will be matched dollar for dollar through grants). The game platform also provides early intervention through e-counselling.

Learn more about the iZ HERO programme through the video below, or visit their website at www.izheroalliance.org