Help kids fight cyberbullying

LETTERS: A survey by the Malaysian Institute of Public Health shows that one in every five pupils admits to being a bully, indicating that cyberbullying is a serious problem in Malaysia.

The 2022 Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission survey said 40 per cent of respondents experienced cyberbullying, with a greater frequency (55 per cent) among those aged 13 to 17.

Malaysia's high cyberbullying rate is exacerbated by widespread Internet use, which exceeds 80 per cent of the population, and the broad use of social media.

A 2019 incident involving a 16-year-old Sarawakian girl's suicide due to cyberbullying revealed the magnitude of the problem.

If you suspect your adolescent is being cyberbullied, there are things you can do to assist them:

FIRST, remain calm and communicate with your child about what is going on.

Assure them that you are available and will help them. Any rash response to the bullying will worsen the problem;

ONE should also collect evidence of the bullying. This could include screenshots of communications, photos or videos posted;

KEEP track of the incidents' timelines as well. After gathering evidence, one can report the bullying to the social media network or website where it is occurring;

YOU can notify the victim's school about the bullying. The school is responsible for addressing and protecting pupils from cyberbullying;

YOU can report to the police if it occurs outside of school. Police can investigate and take action against the bully; and,

FINALLY, get your child expert help. A therapist can assist your child in coping with the emotional effects of cyberbullying and developing coping techniques for the bully.

However, what if your child is the one who bullies others online?

In such a case, don't ignore or reject it as childish behaviour. You must understand that anyone, including our own child, can be cruel to others.

The goal is to put an end to the situation, regardless of who started it or why.

Make efforts to eradicate your child's involvement in the matter, besides any impact your child may have on other collaborators.

Bullies act out because of difficulties at home, school, or their health. To understand why people abuse others, get to the source of the problem.

Ask him to imagine himself in the shoes of his victims.

Educate him on the consequences of his behaviour and encourage him to be empathetic to others.

Bullies sometimes target victims because of perceived disrespect. Explain that there are better methods to handle conflicts than seeking vengeance over trivial matters.

Also, encourage a discussion about difficulties, and provide your child with guidance, resources, and opportunities to overcome problems in more constructive ways.

Another important point is to limit our children's access to devices and the Internet and keep an eye on their online activity.

We can stay on top of problems and prevent bullying from recurring by conducting random checks and weekly check-ins to discuss difficulties.

Lastly, we can contribute to creating a better online environment by educating youngsters about cyberbullying and the responsibility of the digital citizenship.


Johor Baru

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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