Singapore makes Cyberbullying a criminal offence – will this work to curb it?
At Beat The Cyberbully we believe that any measures taken to try and reduce the amount of cyberbullying is a good thing. Singapore has taken the extreme measure of actually criminalising cyerbullying and stalking, punishable by an initial fine of just under 15,000AED or a year in jail, up to 30,000AED for repeat offenders.
They have also provided very clear guidelines explaining what qualifies as cyberbullying and cyber stalking. And yet there is still worry that it’s going to be almost impossible to police this because the internet is still to a large extent unregulated. For example, how are they planning on getting hold of anonymous users details?
There is fear that the law could be used to stifle journalism and the media because there is now civil reproach. Will it go that way? Perhaps. It’s also quite amusing to read that an MP is supporting the law, as long as it’s not used to harass government critics and those that speak out on social and policy issues. Good on them!
But could outlawing cyberbullying and cyberstalking actually be implemented in the UAE? You only have to look at other criminal activities to get a feeling for the fact that outlawing something can have the effect of actually having more people engage in it! The authorities already take things like online slander very seriously over here in the UAE. If a similar law was implemented do you think that it would help to prevent cyberbullying here on the ground from reaching that tragic point of a young person taking their own life as a direct result of cyberbullying?
It will be interesting to see how it pans out in Singapore and we will be keeping an eye on the situation over the next few months.
In line with this, we also applaud the efforts of a Japanese city – Kariya – who are actually looking to enforce a smartphone ban for children aged between 6-15 years old. 21 schools encompassing 13,000 students are participating to ban the use of smartphones after 9pm. The campaign starts in April and whilst there won’t be penalties for parents that don’t engage. We hope that the majority participate. The important aspect of this campaign that we support is the inclusion of parents and the fact that they do have to take some responsibility for their children’s online usage.
The fact that the research shows that in the UK 50% of children and young people accept cyberbullying as part of normal life is alarming and should not be the case!!
The involvement of parents in the fight against cyberbullying is essential – and for those parents that believe they are not equipped for this fight. We can help.