By INSYIRAH AMI and KYLE CHOONG
Did you know 13% of students are currently being bullied online?
That was one of the points highlighted during the National ICT Security Debate finals, with the motion “Internet is the main contributing factor of social problems among youth today”.
The debate was organised in conjunction with the unveiling of the CyberSAFE in Schools survey two weeks ago, which showed a worrying lack of education about cyber security issues among students.
Playing the role of the government supporting the motion were the team from Sekolah Datuk Abdul Razak, Seremban, consisting of Mohd Alif Mohd Sofian, Iyad Zakiy Amal, Muhammad Norshafie Norhisyam and Adam Haikal Mohd Hilmy.
“The youth don’t discuss things enough. They use insults instead,” said Alif.
His teammate Iyad Zakiy added: “You can’t blame a child for being immature. But you can blame the internet for being a medium for them to express the immaturity.”
The opposition – Sekolah Menengah Agama Persekutuan Kajang, represented by Nur Aiman Zainuddin, Solahuddeen Hibatur Rahman, Syed Nazim Syed Sabeer Ali and Mohd Syahrul Nizam Adnan – contested that Internet regulations exist to help prevent social problems such as cyberbullying.
“We believe that the Internet is just a tool (for bullying); it is just a medium, and is not to be blamed,” said Nur Aiman.
“Even without the Internet, bullying exists and social problems exist at the end of the day.”
The team also stressed that it is the people behind the computer screens who should be blamed, such as parents who fail to educate their children on the dangers of cyberbullying and other cyber crimes.
In the end, it was the team from Sekolah Menengah Agama Persekutuan Kajang who took home the trophy, along with RM2,000 and a trip to Singapore courtesy of Deloitte. Sekolah Datuk Abdul Razak took home RM1,000 as the runners-up.
“The debate itself is a form of education on cybersecurity. By participating, we ourselves have learnt a lot,” said Syed Nazim.
The CyberSAFE survey was just as informative as the debate, revealing that only 38% of parents engage their children in talks about Internet safety. Not surprisingly, 38% of students admitted to not knowing how to protect themselves online.
Psychiatrist Dr Nor Hamidah Mohd Salleh, who was speaking at the event, said bullying victims could experience lowered self-esteem, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
A few tips on what parents can do:
> Make sure their children feel safe and secure
> Be open-minded, and a good listener
> Convey your support clearly. It is hard for victims to express themselves
> Educate children on how to behave online
> Approach the police if the bullying is severe
As for children themselves, what they can do is:
> Develop good communication skills, especially with parents
> Ignore minor teasing or name-calling
> Use the Internet under parental guidance
> Avoid using social networks too often
> Only interact online with people you know and trust
> Seek help from support services like Childline, by calling 15999.