Blogger and author Grace Tan has announced that she is making a stand against cyberbullying — beginning with a lawsuit against popular blogger Xiaxue.
In a blogpost which she published this morning, Grace explained that she has served court papers to Wendy Cheng, also known as Xiaxue, after being on the receiving end of “defamatory, libellous, and abusive comments”, which has helped her become “more empathetic towards victims of cyber-bullying”.
In an attempt to rally support and awareness for her anti-bullying campaign, she created this image which, interestingly, features a snowflake.
The movement, #SayNoToBullying, is aimed at improving the Singapore blogosphere and introducing positivity into the online scene in Singapore. This is not the first time that awareness towards online positivity has been raised — The Media Literacy Council commemorated Safer Internet Day earlier this year with a celebration of individuals and movements geared towards positive actions and behaviours online, including Broll Face and The Hidden Good.
After a week of mourning for Singaporeans from the loss of our first Prime Minster, Lee Kuan Yew, Grace also cited his influence as inspiration for this movement.
“I draw strength from the words of our founding father, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who fired up Singaporeans and told us to have the “guts and gumption” to stand up for ourselves, and who always sought to make Singapore a better place.”
A better place indeed, as Singapore is not exempt from the plague of cyberbullying. A Touch Cyber Wellness survey held in 2013 involving 1,900 primary school students and 3,000 secondary school pupils revealed that 1 in 3 of the latter population had been bullied online, while 1 in 4 surveyed admitted to having bullied their peers in the online sphere through social networks. A 2012 study by Microsoft even showed that Singapore had the second highest rate of cyberbullying globally.
A cyberbully is anyone who posts hurtful remarks and embarrassing images concerning their victims in an attempt to torment them, which could lead to self-injurious behaviour, emotional trauma, or depression. Grace Tan also said that the experience of being cyberbullied had “adverse effects on (her) health”.
(Editor’s Note: We have been informed by Nuffnang that Grace has filed an injunction to process a Protection Order, so while she used the word “sued” in her Facebook post, it would be erroneous to do so. We have changed our title accordingly, and we apologise for the oversight.)
Perhaps a little positivity is something we can all look forward to. While the Internet has provided us with a great platform for growth, business, and freedom of speech, the power that comes with every connection to the Internet comes with a great responsibility (to inevitably quote our favourite spidery-superhero). Cyberbullying, after all, is still bullying, and words, even when sent through social media, still carry the same weight.
Whether or not they are delivered through a device shouldn’t matter.