ABOUT 85% of Malaysians are aware of cyberbullying with one in four couples saying their child has been a victim, reveals a survey.
Malaysian Paediatric Association past president Dr N. Thiyagar said the survey involved 28 countries globally.
It was the first time Malaysia was included in the survey carried out by Institut de Publique Sondage d’Opinion Secteur on global cyberbullying, he said.
Dr Thiyagar added that cyberbullying was more common among teenagers as they use the Internet often.
Not only do they communicate with their peers or teachers through electronic means, many are required to use the Internet when doing their schoolwork.
“Most teenagers are exposed to cyberbullying and repeated occurrences can affect their mental health, ” he said, adding that cyberbullying and traditional bullying shared similarities such as name-calling and hurling vulgarities.
The main difference is that in traditional bullying, the victim is able to identify the bully, however in cyberbullying the person could be anonymous.
“It can be really troubling when you cannot identify and confront the person sending you nasty and abusive emails, or posting humiliating or photoshopped images on social media.
“Spreading rumours and lies, creating fake profiles or even excluding someone from discussions in chat groups is a form of bullying.”
Dr Thiyagar added that victims of cyberbullying could become frightened, feel unsafe, ashamed or guilty, stressed, depressed and some even attempt suicide.
“After feeling rejected by friends, they become moody and some even drop out of school, ” he added.
“If such harassment continues to occur, it is best not to retaliate but block the person or exit from a chat group, ” he added.
Schools, he said, must put in place policies on bullying, including ways to assist victims.
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