AS the reigning Miss Universe Malaysia 2018, Jane Teoh is a target of cyberbullies and trolls on social media.
The 21-year-old student from Penang recounted how she blossomed from a shy, nerdy teenager into a confident person who won the pageant in January, after which her Instagram followers went from 500 to 16,000.
It was then that she encountered Internet trolls who poked fun at her features.
This proved to Teoh that despite not being offensive to anyone, one can still be judged and victimised online.
Teoh launched an awareness campaign against cyberbullying called #DareToShout at Help University in Kuala Lumpur.
“A big part of overcoming (the problem) is to speak up and be open about it,” she said.
More importantly, she shared that she took proper action and benefitted from the therapeutic effect of taking time off social media which she described as “social media detox”.
#DareToShout was launched in conjunction with World Mental Health Day.
National director of Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (Mumo) Datin Elaine Daly commended Teoh for her willingness to come forward and share her experiences and advice.
Help University’s Centre of Psychological and Counselling Services counsellor and lecture Sarah Yung told the audience that cyberbullying was bullying made easy because of the nature of social media being anonymous.
“Anyone can be a cyberbully,” she said.
Yung pointed out that instead of being a bystander, cyberbullying observers should take a stand and show support to the victim offline.
Guest speaker Fly FM radio announcer Ili Ruzana said that cyberbullies would not dare to bully in person, while Malaysian actress-singer Ruby Faye spoke on the power of labelling and how one way to counter the cyberbullies’ negative labels was to seek positive ones among those who understood you.
Teoh will be championing the cause via a series of talks in selected schools in her home state in the coming weeks.
She will collaborate with partners and sponsors to raise awareness of the matter and arm the youths of today with the knowledge and understanding to counter cyberbullying.
She urged victims like her to voice out.
The #DareToShout awareness campaign is organised in collaboration with Help University and supported by Mumo and Salad Atelier.