More than 11% of high school students have reported falling victim to cyberbullying, according to the results of a recent survey jointly published by the General Association of Chinese Students of Macau and the Macau Youth Research Association.
From a total of 3,690 pupils polled, 415 said they were “bullied” online, while around 4%, or 152, considered themselves as “perpetrators.” Another 71%, or 2,628, claimed to have been “onlookers.”
The proportion of high school students pushing others around in the digital world is considered relatively low when taking into account the total number of over 20,000 secondary pupils in 2019, the associations acknowledged.
The respondents said the oppressive behavior mostly came from “strangers,” “classmates” and “cybermates.”
The deleterious effects of digital harassment were found to be most pronounced in relation the victims’ mental health, with a majority of bullied respondents admitting they were affected mentally for around a week after the incident.
The most common means of digital bullying was harassing and threatening information, followed by oppressors circulating disconcerting images or digitally-manipulated images or text.
Researchers also found that over 80% will seek help after encountering or witnessing digital bullying. They mostly turned to parents for help, followed by classmates or friends, and teachers.
In September, the two alliances polled 3,690 pupils from 16 secondary schools in Macau to gauge the weight of cyberbullying within the schooling environment.
The associations suggested bolstering the promotion of cyberbullying, setting up hotlines for reporting, as well as recommending that network providers reinforce surveillance control.
Meanwhile, they also advised the government to lay down legislation to discipline tormentors, which can also serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders. Staff Reporter