Youth: Cyber bullying a worrying trend in Brunei

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

CYBER bullying is becoming a worrying trend in Brunei as people are falling prey to online harassment, said a TEDxYouth@Gadong speaker.

Latest statistics obtained from the Royal Brunei Police Force showed there were 300 cases of cyber bullying in 2012 and another 182 cases in the first half of 2013 alone, Ahmad Syauqie Hj Satia told the conference yesterday.

“It’s more common now, but cyber bullying is still underexposed in Brunei. Some people don’t think it’s a real issue and victims are too ashamed to speak up,” he said.

Although a number of people have come forward to report incidents of cyber bullying in recent years, he believed the majority of victims choose to remain silent out of fear and lack of awareness surrounding the issue.

Ahmad Syauqie said victims of cyber bullying suffer psychological, emotional and physical stress, but their cries for help are often dismissed by the public.

“We need to shed light on cyber bullying in Brunei, because there’s very little information out there. Meanwhile, elsewhere we see stories about victims like Amanda Todd and Rebecca Ann Sedwick in America who committed suicide due to cyber bullying,” he said.

The relevant authorities have been actively raising awareness, but he urged for more efforts to address the issue as a society as Brunei is not spared from the dangers of cyber bullying.

In his talk, Ahmad Syauqie discussed a cyber bullying incident involving a 13-year-old local who was pressured by her boyfriend to record a sex video in 2014. The video was widely shared on social media with many users repeatedly harassing the girl online. “After that video went viral, she was forced to move school where she was bullied again, because people recognised her from the video,” he said.

The devastating effects of cyber bullying caused her to feel isolated from society as relationships with her family and friends quickly turned sour following the incident, while people who attempted to defend her were also subjected to abuse.

“To this day, she’s still getting hate from users who track her down online. She is still haunted by a mistake she made when was younger,” said Ahmad Syauqie.

The speaker called on the community to show more empathy towards victims by providing much-needed emotional support. He also advised those affected by cyber bullying to inform the relevant authorities and seek help.

“If people are aware of how cyber bullying harms others, they would think twice before sending that hateful message,” he said.

He further emphasised it was imperative to make the public, particularly the youth, realise the consequences of posting content online. Through increased awareness, the speaker said people should use technology to counteract cyber bullying by spreading positivity.

“Sure, it’s easy for content to go viral in Brunei, but it also means it’s easy to be cyber bullied. It’s worse since everybody knows each other here,” he said.

Ahmad Syauqie, a 17-year-old former student at Mahad Islam Brunei, was among the students selected to give short talks on issues relating to technology at the TEDxYouth@Gadong hosted by Jerudong International School.

The Brunei Times