Take a drive in the city at night, and brightly flashing billboards beam at you from all angles. These moving images with flashy graphics may be good for advertisers who seek to draw your attention to their product, but it serves as a dangerous source of distraction for many. For elderly folks, children and especially those with disabilities, constant bright flashing lights can negatively affect their health.\r\nIncreased Sensitivity to Light\r\nThere are concerns that the bright flashing lights from roadside billboards can trigger problems among those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and epilepsy.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nOrdinary billboards are not an issue but digital ones with videos can affect autistic people with sight sensory sensitivity, said National Autism Society of Malaysia chairman Feilina Feisol, according to The Star. They can become overwhelmed as they cannot process the flashing lights. This can cause them to scream, close their eyes and roll on the floor as their minds cannot process such lights well and it causes stress.\r\n\r\nThis sentiment is echoed by Permata Kurnia director Assoc Prof Dr Hasnah Toran. Children with ASD will close their eye and ears when agitated, especially those with increased sensory sensitivity. These advertisement are meant to be eye-catching, but the visuals, voices, and music jingles may disturb children with ASD.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs head of Permata Kurnia, Dr Hasnah said that they try to acclimatise children with such sensory conditions to their surroundings. Permata Kurnia is a government centre aimed at enhancing awareness on ASD, as well as providing early intervention for children with ASD to prepare them for mainstream education.\r\nDistraction for Motorists\r\nOther than that, these digital billboards can also adversely affect the average motorist. SS20 Central Residents Association chairman N.K. Leong said that the videos shown needed to be controlled. Visuals that quickly switch between dark to bright can cause motorists to shift their focus from the road.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nA spokesman from the Public Works Department (JKR) said that approval of electronic billboards are under the purview of local councils. It is the local council's responsibility to get public feedback and draw up guidelines based on people's concerns.\r\n\r\nPetaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said the city council was still finalising guidelines on the billboards. There are also plans to limit the timing so the videos are not running 24 hours a day. He added that residents had complained about the distraction caused by these lights.\r\n\r\nFor more information about parenting and family, please visit\u00a0Motherhood.com.my.