KUALA LUMPUR: An expert in criminology has urged parents to raise their awareness of cyberbullying, especially in recognising the signs that their children may be victims.
The classic signs include self-destructive behaviours, avoidance of social activities and loss of interest in education and daily activities, according to Gershina Ayu Mat Saat of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
She said recognising these warning signs was important because not every victim would ask for help, sometimes out of fear of retaliation or fear of distressing the family. There might also be cases in which victims were resigned to the situation or believed they deserved their fate, she added.
She told FMT parents were sometimes the last people to know that their children had been victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying.
Referring to the parents of bullies, she said “some view their children through rose-tinted glasses. They fail to realise that the bullying nature is nurtured in the home because of their poor parenting skills.”
Last year, Paris-based research firm Ipsos reported that about a quarter of Malaysian respondents to its global study on cyberbullying said their children had been victims.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission recently said it had received 220 complaints of cyberbullying since 2017.
The commission advised internet users to exercise self-regulation to protect themselves and to equip themselves with knowledge of how to prevent cyberbullying.
It said users must not share their personal information online, avoid sending and forwarding harsh or threatening messages, ignore messages from bullies and deactivate or delete their online account if they had been threatened.
It urged users to report to the police immediately if they have been threatened with physical harm.
Shathana Kasinathan is an intern with FMT.