(Graphic by Alex Tang/China Daily)
HONG KONG - The city is witnessing a worrying trend of internet bullying among adolescents – with the incidence of online harassment and nasty comments rising in recent years, research released by the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) shows.
The study, funded by Quality Education Fund, surveyed 3,000 primary and secondary school students on their online behavior from April to June last year. More than 10 percent of those surveyed said they had suffered from internet bullying during the past month.
One of the most common practices was “photo-shopping teasing” which comprised 12.7 percent of the bullying – 10 percent more than in 2012.
The report concluded cyber-bullying among secondary students was becoming more serious compared with data in 2012. The study also found there was a correlation between cyber-bullying of young people and how well adjusted they felt at home and school.
Professor Wong Sing-wing, professor of Criminology and Social Work at CityU, who conducted the survey, said nearly half the respondents chose to remain silent in the face of cyber-bullying. Such an attitude was very worrying, he added.
“Over 46 percent of them would rather remain in silence than to seek help when they encounter cyber-bullying; they may develop depression over time if they fail to speak out,” Wong ventured. “Cyber-bullying is happening to primary school students and parents and schools must not turn a blind eye. There is a need for early education on this.”
He encouraged students to learn how to cope with such bullying. He emphasized that it was vital to seek help from parents, teachers and in-school social workers.
Principal of Christian Alliance SW Chan Memorial College Kwong Wing-sun agreed. He said parents and schools had to work together to prevent cyber-bullying.
His school has implemented a “Be Net Wise” scheme to give students an appropriate attitude in using internet. Parents can monitor their children’s network behavior at home and stay connected with schools. He believes that only with a collective effort can adolescent cyber-bullying be prevented.
Laura Kong contributed to the story.