Big Daddy’s Gonna Protect Us

In a 25-country survey conducted last year, Microsoft found that Singapore has the second-highest rate of online bullying among those aged between eight to 17; first place being China.

Singapore law minister said on November 18th “the anonymous, borderless, viral and permanent nature of cyberspace makes harassment and bullying easier and more egregious.”

New laws against harassment and bullying, whether online or in real life, will be tabled soon in response to Singaporeans’ concerns about this growing menace.

I welcome this move.

Last month two Florida girls – one 12, the other 14 – were arrested on aggravated stalking charges after the death of a 12-year-old girl who eventually took her own life.

Authorities say the two girls repeatedly cyberbullied the victim and drove her to suicide.

It’s difficult to actually track cyberbullying rates, let alone how often bullying is directly related to suicide, but Lanny Berman, executive director of The American Association of Suicidology, says he’s seen an increase in anecdotal reports.

Indeed in recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides in the US and across the globe have drawn attention to the connection between bullying and suicide.

I also think that those who post comments online should have the balls to stand up for what they believe in.

One way they can prove that is to use their real names and not pseudonyms.

The Forum page of The Straits Times imposed the requirement of using real names a few years ago. For your comment to be considered for publication the paper’s requirement is: “Please include your full name (as in IC), your address and a phone number.” However the veil of anonymity afforded by the internet appears to be very much valued by the online community.

Many organizations and individuals, have been trying to figure out how to deal with the hateful flames that anonymous commentators post by the thousands but there is no easy solution, really.

Some argue that anonymous comments may offer protection for whistle blowers or those who may suffer reprisals for revealing certain information.

A solution is yet to be found, but I’m sure as society matures and as more people come to their senses, there will be an appropriate resolution to this equation one day in the not-too-distant future.

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