Expert: Online bullying can hurt more than the face-to-face kind

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Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A psychologist has warned of the devastating effect that cyberbullying can have on some individuals.

Goh Chee Leong, Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences at HELP University, told FMT the harm from cyberbullying could sometimes be worse than the effects of conventional bullying.

“There is no one size fits all when it comes to the different types of bullying,” he said. “However, there could be instances where cyberbullying may affect the victim just as badly, if not worse, than face-to-face bullying.

“Sometimes the perpetrator conceals his identity, making it harder for the victim to fight back or defend himself.

“Furthermore, there could be more than one person doing the bullying. There could be 20 or even 50 people joining in.”

When asked what one could do if one was bullied online, Goh said it was difficult to give direct advice unless all factors related to the bullying had been determined. He did, however, give some general tips.

“It is important for the person to safeguard his self-esteem as much as possible because usually that’s the first thing that suffers when you experience cyberbullying,” he said.

“It’s also important to seek support be it from friends or family. Victims of bullying need the support of people who love them and see their worth. Do not be consumed by these negative messages from strangers who do not know you.”

Last Wednesday, Selangor DAP Wanita released a statement condemning the cyberbullying of people for their political views.

Urging all Malaysians to be civil in their engagements online, it voiced outrage over recent social-media sharing of personal attacks.

Selangor DAP Wanita did not name any individual or specify any political issue involved in the bullying, but it is believed that it was referring to attacks directed at #UndiRosak campaigner Maryam Lee.

Following her participation in a forum on Jan 25, Lee has become the target of doctored images, sexist comments and accusations that she was paid by Barisan Nasional. The attacks have appeared on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp as well as in comments on stories published by news portals.