SPM top scorer rises above online hate

Muhammad Zaim: Blocking cyberbullies helps me curb any form of negativity from getting into my notifications.

“LOVE yourself and know your worth. Don’t let other people define who you are. And keep your friends close, especially when you are having a difficult time.”

This is the message that Muhammad Zaim Mohamed Mohsin wants to convey to social media users who have encountered cyberbullying.

A budding social media influencer with tens of thousands of followers, the 18-year-old is no stranger to dealing with online hate. In fact, he faces it on a nearly everyday basis, he told StarEdu.

“For example, some people think I like bragging about my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results when that is not the case.

“I have been labelled a show-off and a braggart – names I believe no one enjoys being called,” said the Kolej Mara Banting, Selangor, student who obtained 11A+ in the SPM 2021.

While it used to affect him greatly – causing him to be downcast the whole day and to even skip meals – he now has a better grip on overcoming the cyberbullies, he shared.

“I had a hard time recovering from the remarks because I used to respond to every hate comment I received. After a while, I realised it was no good responding to these comments. The hate would keep coming.

“So now, I block these people right away. This definitely helps me curb any form of negativity from getting into my notifications,” he said.

Muhammad Zaim went on to say that even during those difficult times, he had never once thought of quitting social media, let alone discontinuing what he enjoys doing, which is to post educational and lifestyle videos.

“I will keep making these content because it is my passion. The cyberbullies are not worth my attention.

“I still have many people who follow me because they like what I post, and I receive an equal amount of positive feedback from my followers, which I sincerely appreciate,” he said, adding that what matters even more to him is words of encouragement from people who are close to him.

“My social media platforms are also my main source of income so I am not going to lose that just because some random people on the Internet decided not to like me,” he asserted.

Commenting that cyberbullying is becoming widespread and normalised, Muhammad Zaim believes there are still many in society who don’t take it seriously. “I have been observing a rise in awareness of cyberbullying specifically in the form of body shaming. Nonetheless, such awareness is only popular among teenagers and not the older generations, making it less effective,” he said.

Emphasising the importance of never keeping cyberbullying to oneself, he recommended netizens to ask friends for affirmation and to keep memorable text messages or letters “to go back to when you feel down”.

“You are bound to have someone who hates you. Even if you are not famous, there will be someone who hates you, and this is something you have to face and accept.

“Some people are envious of the successes of others or have personal issues they haven’t dealt with themselves. It is out of our control,” he concluded.

Nur Alia Irdina, 18, a student in Selangor, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team.

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