Is Cyberbullying Our Culture? (Part 1)

OPINION

Do you know that in 2018, Malaysia has ranked the 6th place globally in cyberbullying? Who would’ve thought that a well-known country famous for its polite culture gets mentioned as the sixth-worst in one research! The article was published in Malay Mail online dated 27th October 2018. The question is, why can’t we portray the same politeness we embody in our culture in the digital world? The alarming part is most cases of cyberbullying affect our children and teenagers.

Let’s do some experiment

If you have any social media accounts such as Facebook or Instagram, scroll for any sensational topic and read the comments section. What you are going to do is observe the comments and at the same time disengage yourself from commenting. Observe if you could pick up these traits; suggesting others to stop living, spreading rumours, offensive name-calling, threaten to rape or harm and more. These words, although spoken and not (yet) an act of physical bullying, still affects the victim/s’ well-being as well as the readers.

Do realise that cyberbullying does not limit to commenting on social media alone. Other forms of bullies that are under-reported are the distribution of explicit images, sharing photos without consent, constant investigation of the other party and identity thief. However, for the purpose of discussion, I am going to address cyberbullying under social media interaction, particularly in blaming, shaming and condescending others.

 A sign of an unhealthy mind and emotion

All bullies have one thing in common: aggression in any form. The danger in cyberbullying is that the society thinks aggressive comments are normal. As a matter of fact, most people participate in it without awareness. We are building a society that is unconscious towards their mental and emotional health. We may come to a point where we do not know how to be in a healthy debate without verbally bashing others who are different than us. Instead, why not teach ourselves and the children to address our concerns towards certain issues in a constructive and empathic way?

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