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Digi Survey: Cyberbullying increasing among Malaysian youth

Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi) recently ran a ‘Be Smart, Use Heart’ survey with 96 undergraduate students, aged 18 to 20. The purpose of this survey was to identify the level of awareness and experience with cyberbullying of this age group as well as to compare them with findings from previous surveys.

digi survey
Key findings from the survey according to the Telco:

  • 98% of these undergraduates are superusers (high daily usage) of the internet.
  • About 90% of them agree they are at a risk of being cyberbullied and 86% to the risk of being sexually harassed online, with 40% of them not knowing how to protect themselves if these incidents occur.
  • 79% reported high encounter of inappropriate language online and as many as 51% of them admitted to being a cyberbullying victim, at least once on each of the various mediums such as social media, and social chat. 65% admitted to receiving nasty messages in multiplayer online games and 25% have been a victim of sexual harassment in social media.
  • 38% of these undergraduates have tried to fix the problem but more than half of them have kept quiet, hoping that cyberbullying will stop, rather than consult a trusted adult on this matter.
  • A worrying average of 59% feel that meeting in person someone they befriended online is not wrong and about 23% have admitted to doing so.
  • In spite of the high percentages, digital resiliency skills are still relatively low with only 35% admitting to using privacy settings, 37% using the blocking tool and 27% reporting the problem. A quarter admitted to doing none of the above.

“From this dipstick survey, we can safely infer that cyberbullying has the potential to escalate amongst this segment of youth due to the lack of awareness and resiliency skills, and not having a strong support network that they can turn to for assistance. In contrast with previous surveys with younger youth segments, schoolchildren have greater awareness of the risks and have more support systems to reach out to. Though carried out with a small number of subjects, the data collated from this ‘Be Smart, Use Heart’ survey provided us with valuable insights on the online behavioural patterns of this older youth segment in relation to cyberbullying,” explained Philip Ling, Digi CyberSAFE Programme Manager.

Digi is part of a global ‘Be a Cyberhero’ digital and social media campaign initiated by Telenor Group with a goal to engage four million children by 2020 across its 13 international markets, in online safety practices. Half a billion children in Asia is projected to have Internet access by 2020. Through this campaign, Digi and Telenor Group hope to educate these young netizens about cyberbullying and the practical ways of addressing it.

To date, Digi CyberSAFE programme has engaged about 120,000 schoolchildren from more than 7,500 schools nationwide.

Philip said, “For us, connecting people doesn’t just stop at providing them the benefits and opportunities that come with the digital world. It is about creating a safe online environment by equipping our younger generation with the knowledge and skills to identify potential risks, and knowing how to protect themselves as well as to exercise a positive cyber conduct. Simply put, we are helping them to strengthen their digital resiliency levels and at the same time, to instill digital citizenship amongst our children.”

This year, Digi continues to work closely with partners such as CyberSecurity Malaysia, PDRM, UNICEF as well as supporting MDEC and the Ministry of Education through several initiatives such as creating a digital citizenship module to be used in schools’ co-curriculum activities and engaging content for #mydigitalmaker Mobile Learning Unit, which will travel to more than 50 rural schools this year. In addition, Digi is also a part of a nationwide youth-friendly townhall sessions, #SayaSayangSaya that focuses on educating on cyber-grooming.

According to Zainab Hussain Siddiqui, Telenor Group’s Director for Social Responsibility, the ‘Be a Cyberhero’ campaign supports Telenor’s wider commitment of supporting SDG#10 Reduced Inequalities. “Under online safety, we have pledged to train four million children so they are empowered to engage confidently and responsibly on the internet. Be a Cyber Hero campaign also supports our multiple on-ground initiatives now reaching scores of children, parents and schools across our markets.”

“As part of this campaign, we have introduced a custom-made ‘Be a Cyberhero’ profile picture filter for social media, as well as cyberbullying tips graphics and multimedia. We would like to invite everyone to show their support in stopping cyberbullying by changing their profile pictures and spreading the message,” said Zainab adding that more than 30,000 of Telenor Group employees across the globe are also playing a role, and are joining the online movement by changing their profile pictures to share positive messages against cyberbullying.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy