Merriam – Webster defines cyberbullying as the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person as in a student and often done repeatedly. It is meant to embarrass and strip the dignity of that person to the point that it pushes the person to withdraw out of shame.
While bullies have existed even before the age of the Internet, social media has provided them another platform to attack a person with greater ease and abuse.
The nature of attack may be against the person’s reputation, appearance, or opinion through the use of images or videos that may be inaccurate or false.
One study revealed that among those bullied, 53 percent were adults (18+) while 47 percent were minors (17 and below); 57 percent female, 43 percent male; and 79 percent were bullied by one person, 21 percent were bullied by a group.
No government action yet
Some schools have come up with their own anti-cyber bullying policies but government still has to pass one into law.
Is it time for government to pass an anti-cyber bullying law? This is what will be tackled on November 23 as the Public Relations Society of the Philippines holds its annual Public Relations Students Conference at the Albertus Magnus Building Auditorium of the University of Santo Tomas.
Some 700 students from different colleges and universities are expected to attend the one-day event. The day is jam-packed with activities intended to aid the participating students to have a better understanding of and appreciation for public relations as a field of study and as a profession.
Invited to talk about cyber-bullying is the keynote speaker, Senator Grace Poe. A panel discussion will follow and participated in by Ms. Jurisr Gamban, Head Globe Tattoo@Home, Advocate of anti-cyber bullying Atty. Chris Lao and Prof. Lucila Bance, Ph.D., Director of Guidance and Counseling Department, University of Santo Tomas.
Then to further engage the students, an inter-school debate on cyber-bullying will take place for the first with UP Manila, De La Salle, TUP and Ateneo battling it out.
Some 21 student groups from nine schools submitted their respective positions on the issue and based on these, PRSP chose the finalists from the University of Santo Tomas, De La Salle University, Technological Institute of the Philippines and University of the Philippines – Manila.
The second half of the PR Students Conference is the PRSP Gran Prix, an annual competition that has challenged the PR Students’ creativity in coming up with public relations campaigns that address the conference theme. The contest has been running for more than 10 years already.
Partners of the event are Association of Marketing Educators of the Philippines, Globe Telecom, Inc., Mileage Corporation, Pagcor, Pfizer, Inc. Philippines, Pru Life UK; Social Security System, Smart Communications, Inc. and University of Santo Tomas. Media Partners are ABS-CBN Corporation, ANC, GMA Network, Inc., BusinessMirror, BusinessWorld, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star.
There have been many reports of suicides as a result of cyber bullying and parents are well advised to monitor their kids’ digital life. Whenever possible, befriend your kids on Facebook or Twitter but do not share anything that may embarrass them lest they unfriend you.
God is Great!