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Mind Your Language — Don't Be A Bully

Wong Shu Lee  


  November 30, 2020

As the increasing Covid-19 cases induced movement controls again across the nation, we can expect a surge in internet activities among Malaysians, leading to an expected increase in the rate of cyberbullies. 


Cyberbullying is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means such as SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Harmful bullying behaviour can include posting rumours, threats, sexual remarks, disclosing victims' personal information, or hate speech. 


If a victim being cyberbullied repeatedly, he/she may experience lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of negative emotional responses including being scared, frustrated, angry, or depressed. 


Many celebrities have been a victim of cyberbullying. In fact, since 2000, around 40 South Korean entertainers have made the tragic decision to take their own life. Famous actors and singers in the US such as Emma Watson, Taylor Swift, Adele have been tormented online as well. Sadly, despite the serious consequences caused to the victims, people who are caught writing malicious posts online usually get only a slap-on-the-wrist punishment such as a fine. 


One of the reasons that made cyberbullying a dangerous crime is because anyone that has access to digital devices and internet can be victim or perpetrator of cyberbullying. Unlike physical crimes that usually require tools or strengths, cyberbullying can be performed by anyone regardless of age and gender. 


Sitting in front of their keyboards, anyone can say, bring down, and build up anything on the internet by simply using 140 characters, sometimes less. Bullies are made without even knowing they are being made. Cyberbullies sometimes do not even know they are doing something wrong. 


In this article, we would like to share some actions that can be classified as cyberbullying and hope our readers to stay far from these behaviours. 


Saying Cruel Things To Someone On The Internet


Words like “I hope you die” might be the last thing we would ever say to a friend in real life no matter how mad we are. However, it becomes easier to type out to someone in the virtual world. 


The best thing to do when you feel angry towards a person online is to unfollow or unfriend the person and switch your attention to things or people that you like. 


Avoid getting into a fight online and avoid saying cruel words to people. If those words are inappropriate for you to shout at a person’s face, then don’t post them online. 


Posting Offensive & Embarrassing Messages Through Someone’s Account 


This is a common way to prank friends or siblings when they forgot to logout from their social media after using your devices or when they left their phones unlocked. In most situations, the offenders don’t intend to hurt the victim. However, this method of prank often goes wrong when the statement posted embarrassed the victim. 


Therefore, let’s respect everyone’s boundaries and privacy. Do not post anything on another person’s behalf. 


Disclosing Someone’s Personal Information Online


Everyone deserves privacy. Therefore, it is very unrespectful and inappropriate to disclose someone’s personal information such as where he/she lives or works, contact numbers and photos. Disclosing such information may make the person a prey to harassment and assault. 


If you admire someone of their appearance, keep it to yourself, don’t share their photos and information all over online forums and social media. If you are having an argument or a fight with someone online, settle it among the both of you. Seek legal advice if the argument is severe. Do not bash the person and disclose his/her information online. 


Trolling A Person On the Internet


Just because you think it is fun, doesn’t mean that it is fun for others. Don’t shame a person by trolling and commenting about their physical appearance, their words or their behaviours. Put yourself into others’ shoes before you post anything that may harm others. 


Don’t Abuse the Freedom of Speech


We’re blessed because we are born in a country where our Constitution guarantees our right to the freedom of speech. We’re free to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. However, this doesn’t mean that we can say anything without weighing the consequences. 


You can call your opinions out when you disagree on someone’s actions, but you should focus on the actions, not the person. For instance, if you saw someone wasting food, you can share your opinions about food wasting and ways to avoid such behaviours on social media to raise awareness. However, you shouldn’t share the personal information of the person and let other people attack him/her with cruel words. 


Hope we can learn to become more rational and wiser day by day. Let’s mind our language and make the world more peaceful and happy. 


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