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LAST_UPDATEThu, 23 Nov 2017 2am

Cyberbullying: Take A Look At Yourself

Cyber Bully, A Keyboard Warrior or Coward?Cyber Bully, A Keyboard Warrior or Coward?CYBER bullying can have a lifelong impact on its victims. For some, this serious problem is a reality, while for others, the remarks, photos and videos are just a source of laughter and entertainment.

In this internet age, most people would have seen many types of videos online and perhaps have taken offence to the content of some of the videos that they have come across while surfing on the internet.

Is the name Kiki Kamaruddin still fresh in your memory? Familiar to all internet users by now as the 'road bully' who achieved instant 'fame' when the video of her harassing a senior citizen went viral last month, that infamous incident as well as her entire trial by public opinion and the negative backlash she received from cyber citizens can be easily retrieved online with the hashtag #CDM125.

Kiki was seen in the video as if aggressively banging a steering lock on the car bonnet, ceiling and windshield of the car driven by an elderly man named Sim Siak Heong, who had unintentionally bumped into the back of her car. Even before she was officially charged and sentenced for her behaviour, the abuse and vindictive comments came fast and furious onlinePic:shutterstockPic:shutterstock

Similarly, another video showing female students in a fistfight also became viral early in May and was a top trending favourite among Malaysian cyber surfers who appointed themselves judge and jury in deciding who was right or wrong.

In the increasingly wired and digitally connected world that we live in, many lives have been scarred by cyber bullies, whether it is being ridiculed, despised, shamed or being made to feel like an outcast through the spreading of social media gossip, viral videos, scandalous photographs or malicious text messages.

Of course, we know that to exhibit bullying, violent or criminal behaviour is indefensible and should be punished according to the law. However, what starts out as meaningful criticism by well-meaning netizens can snowball into a never-ending cycle of ridicule, contempt and insults online that is uncivilised and a bad reflection of the character of the people throwing out the insults anonymously.

Cyber Bully, A Keyboard Warrior or Coward?

“These (cyber bullies; keyboard warriors) who makes unsupported criticism on the online social network about someone’s wrongdoing can be categorised as ‘cowards’', said an expert on the subject of social networking who didn’t want to be identified.

This observer noted that Malaysians' attitude in being overly sensitive to certain issues that are prevalent in social media network does not give the them the right to to punish and declare who is the guilty party in the cyber sphere.

“Sharing of videos in the social network is, for me, an individual right. However, the intent of the video being shared is important because whether the video is meant to tarnish someone's character or to bring justice towards a cause or individual makes a big difference.

"Sometimes a problem or criminal act has gone unnoticed to the relevant authorities so with the sharing of online videos, it can be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities to investigate. However, netizens are advised to not let their emotions overtake their moral judgement when evaluating an issue",said the expert.

In addition,to prevent social media users ( on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) from turning into cyber bullies or keyboard warriors, the expert suggest that those who hold online accounts be more sensitive, and perhaps practice self-censorship when delivering messages to the public online especially videos.

“As of most of the videos we can see parodied in the social media network, many are meant to be humorous and at the same time connect to current issues or news. Take Kiki for example - why not present the incident in a more positive way so that people can learn from it rather than just empty criticism and ridicule ,” the expert noted, reflecting on the need for society to be more rationale in expressing themselves on the Internet.

Voices Of Dissent & Dissatisfaction

“In terms of psychology, they (the cyber bullies) are actually responding to the adverse stimulations they receive from their respective environment. While, when it concerns sociological theory, every stimulations felt by human being are resonances of those from their senses such as hearing, touch, vision, taste and smell; and the reactions henceforth can be felt in real life as well as the Cyber world, whether it is through emotional or physical response,” said psychological expert in the Psychological Department on Educational Development and Counseling in University Malaysia (UM), Prof. Madya Dr. Mariani Md. Nor.

MARIANI:"that most of the critics in the Cyber world are indeed full of certain opinions, mostly dissatisfactory in essence, falling back on concrete reasons for the discontent"MARIANI:"that most of the critics in the Cyber world are indeed full of certain opinions, mostly dissatisfactory in essence, falling back on concrete reasons for the discontent"When asked about the actual existence of cyber bullies, trolls and keyboard warriors, Dr. Mariani noted that most of the critics in the Cyber world are indeed full of certain opinions, mostly dissatisfactory in essence, falling back on concrete reasons for the discontent.

She also added that they have their own perception on the basis for (such behavior) that they hold on to.

“The feeling of dissatisfaction, anger and fury can easily arise from this. One critical opinion is responded with another attempt to contradict the view from a different stand; and this easily begets any more other uncomfortable standpoint from the rest,” she noted.

On the attitude of some online social networking users’ tendency to criticize on some viral elements in the portal without basis, she noted that those who can’t think rationally, with maturity and calmness tend to produce the baseless hard-hitting form of criticism.

However, Dr. Mariani added that strong sense of patience is required whether it is the victim or the criticiser; and if not, it would just go on to create a separate community with their own ideology.

“If that ideology is healthy, it will bring upon a harmonious society; but if it is otherwise, it would just go on the opposite direction and destroy the very harmonious society the nation needs,” she said.

Are You A Cyber Bully?

In the anonymous digital landscape of the internet, it is difficult to understand who is involved, and how bullying takes place in the cyberspace.

According to Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (SKMM), cyber bullying is done through emails, chat portals, websites and other digital forms of communication with intent to spread messages with bad intentions resulting in defamatory insults and includes threats involving blackmail and sexual harassment.

According to Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin, SKMM’s Head, Monitoring and Enforcement Division, in a statement to Malaysian Digest mentioned that SKMM is always co-operating with authorities to track down cyber crime perpetrators and help to resolve issues involving abuse of social media networking in the country

SKMM also noted that over two thirds of social media users enjoy uploading photographs and posting daily updates of their activities without thinking about the consequences. Unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of all this information to bully, threaten or blackmail , as it can all be easily found in the victim’s own website or related blogs in the Internet.

According to Section 223 of the Communications and Multimedia's Act 1998 (AKM 98), a cyber bully is liable for punishment involving a fine of RM 50, 000 or jail for not more than a year or both.

“ Internet Troll” – Self- Defeating Agent Provocateur

According to BBC.com in a story published in December 2013, an online troll can be described as a troublemaker whose only purpose is to provoke and disrupt, so in the long run the actions are self-defeating.

Many non-governmental organizations and social media experts have noted that this a disturbing new problem particularly among the youth community online. According to the same report, there are as many as 2,000 trolls in the social media network alone based on information provided by Twitter in London last year.

In Malaysia alone, according to Cyber999 webpage, incident statistics show there were 389 cyber bullying cases reported last year, a 55.5% increase over the 250 cases reported for the entire year of 2012.


- mD