Stop cyberbullying now! — Sin Chew Daily

MAY 7 — The Internet knows no boundaries, opening up unprecedented experiences and opportunities while also posing previously unseen challenges to our society. Cyberbullying has now developed into a social issue we can no longer ignore.

While cyberbullying is often overlooked by us as no physical assaults have been entailed, it will nevertheless inflict immense psychological afflictions to the victims which may not pale in intensity compared to physical assaults.

Some of the victims have taken their own lives under tremendous pressure.

Unable to deliver himself out of the shadows of cyberbullying, a college student decided to jump to his death. The incident has rocked our society while reflecting the severity of cyberbullying in this country.

Thanks to the penetration of Internet, people spend longer and longer hours browsing the web and cyberbullying is getting increasingly common.

A survey by People ACT carried out between June and December last year showed that 50.4per cent of the 522 respondents had at least experienced cyberbullying or harassment once.

As a matter of fact, this phenomenon not only exists here in Malaysia but also all other countries in this world. Western countries have legislated new laws to tackle cyberbullying as a consequence of its seriousness. The EU even set up the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) as early as 2004, and has since fixed the second Tuesday of every February as cybersecurity Day to raise public awareness on the seriousness of cyberbullying.

cyberbullying is not a highly complicated thing. The attacker only needs to sit in front of a PC with his fingers moving around the keyboard to inflict unbearable mental afflictions to his victims.

While such an act must be reprimanded by us all, we have to stress here that cyberbullying is not all about freedom of expression, and must never be exploited as an excuse for cyberbullies to defend their indecent acts. Freedom of expression accords us the power to voice up our views, not the freedom to verbally attack and defame others.

There is a need for web users to lift their cyberethics standards in the face of the alarming cyberbullying trend. We need to learn to protect ourselves and attune our mentality to face all kinds of malicious comments in the cyberspace.

In addition, web users must also be aware that they should not thoughtlessly forward harmful messages lest they become accomplices in cyberbullying.

Given the openness and uncontrollability of the Internet, to completely weed out cyberbullying is almost an impossible mission. However, the authorities can take necessary actions such as public education to prevent the problem from deteriorating. — Sin Chew Daily

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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