By Nadhira Maizam
GOMBAK, 4 April 2019 – Online cyber bullying and how to cope with stress came under spotlight in a talk conducted yesterday (3 April) held in conjunction with IIUM Mental Health Awareness Week 2019.
The increasing number of digital natives has triggered multiple forms of cyber bullying which consequently precipitated stress and depression amongst users.
Guest speakers Hazeman Huzir and Syafawati Khairunnisa heightened the need for greater mental strength and a change of attitude among Malaysians to overcome cyber bullying. According to the speakers, the anonymity in social networks has created a ‘wasteland’ for bullies to post hurtful messages and defamatory words towards other users.
Hazeman said, “There are always people who want to bring you down for no absolute reason.”
Nonetheless, the speakers said, with excellent power of mental control, users would not be bothered to pay excessive attention towards negative comments that would eventually distress them.
The speakers then continued to emphasise the necessity to ameliorate Malaysians’ standard of online conduct to steer away from throwing hate comments and skewed perceptions on other profiles to eradicate cyber bullying cases.
“We have to ignore and move on. It is our duty to curb strangers from overpowering our emotions,” Syafawati advised the audience. She believed that retaliation will incur more problems afterwards as the energy has been reciprocated.
Meanwhile, a licensed counsellor from IIUM, Madam Aziah Yunos, who was also present, took the microphone during Question and Answer session to support Syafawati’s strategy not to retaliate when encountering hate comments from bullies. She told the students to seek help if cyber bullying continues to cause them tension and stress.
Hazeman further reminded the audience to use application’s features intelligently to block or mute certain accounts and go private. Users therefore could protect themselves from reputation damage caused by some ill-intentioned strangers, he said.
“Being on social media open the opportunity for people to impose their opinion and leave harsh criticism because you willingly put yourself there,” Hazeman said. He called for everyone’s awareness of the cost they have to pay for their social media posts.
The speakers also shared some of their real life experiences to exemplify the consequences of being a public figure on social media.
The event has opened the mind of the students to understand the simple framework that they can employ to combat online bullying and safeguard them from getting further provoked by the bullies. ***