KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia ranked second in Asia in 2020 for cyberbullying among youths, according to a United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) report.
A researcher indicated that cyberbullying is becoming an increasingly serious problem in the country.
The popular usage of social media platforms has made it a rife breeding ground for cyberbullying and toxic behaviour, not only among youths but adults as well.
A researcher on cyberbullying among youths, Jessie Yong Tse Shing, says that such behaviour could be the projection of a person’s own unhappiness due to being deprived of basic needs.
“According to Glasser’s Choice Theory, these needs are survival, belonging (to love, to be loved and to be of value), power, freedom and fun,” she told Bernama in an interview.
The Choice Theory, developed by American psychiatrist William Glasser, suggests that humans have five basic needs that drive their behaviour (choices).
Whenever one or more of their basic needs are not met, they might use cyberbullying as a tool to satisfy their needs.
This is why cyberbullying cases are not only perpetuated by youths but also adults as well, said Yong, who is also a part-time lecturer at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC).
Studies have also revealed that perpetrators of cyberbullying experienced higher rates of loneliness, said Yong during TalkSpace, a webinar recently held to address issues related to cyberbullying, particularly among youths.
“This is due to a lack of affection by family members and the society around them. Bullying people online is their attempt to seek attention from strangers,” she said.
She added that those with lower rates of global self-worth, social acceptability and popularity were also likely to engage in cyberbullying, as studies have shown that cyberbullies were often socially incompetent individuals.
Another speaker during the webinar shared her experience enduring various forms of cyberbullying since age 16 and how to get police help to put an end to the harassment.
Narvinni Jayakumar, founder of Project #Cybercancelled and former Miss Petite Universe International Semenanjung (MPUIS) 2020, said she had to endure verbal abuse and cyberstalking. She is now keen to help others get themselves out of similar situations.
The webinar was the first organised by final-year Persuasive Communication students from Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Communication and saw the participation of more than 400 people.
The students have also launched a campaign called Nethics, aimed at promoting proper social media etiquette and curbing cyber harassment.
Project director Larissa Lorelle Christian said the campaign would give youths the opportunity to address the issue of cyberbullying and learn proper online etiquette.
The Nethics campaign also saw the students organising WorkSpace, a workshop held on Jan 10, to share the importance of nurturing personal branding and tips to improve online identity through social media platforms.