SOCIAL MEDIA! Many of us are heavily dependent on it these days - especially since the start of quarantine season. Well, as for me, social media has been a part of my life for close to 7 years now.
Now as a twenty one year old looking back, it never once crossed my mind that something I enjoyed so greatly would break me down the way it did. I initially only used social media for the pure purpose of keeping in touch with friends, playing games and sharing memes (which I still do, haha!). But currently with a part time modelling career and pageantry on the side, social media has assumed a much heavier significance in my life.
And here's my story:
I am no stranger to hate. Around the age of 16, I had my first encounter with cyberbullies. I recall receiving hate comments anonymously through platforms like ask.fm or by fake Instagram accounts. I would receive humiliating and derogatory comments about my appearance and inappropriate remarks that should never see the day of light. I never understood, and to this date, still do not understand why masked individuals felt the need to do such things.
I had so many thoughts running through my mind, "Do I speak up about this?", "Where do I go for help?", "What do I do now?".
Truth be told, I did not know what to do. I was lost. I had so many thoughts running through my mind, "Do I speak up about this?", "Where do I go for help?", "What do I do now?".
For multiple years, I had endured a life of being cyberbullied, but all in silence. I was convinced that tables would be turned against me if I had chosen to speak up, making me seem like an attention seeker.
At that point in time, I did not want to get the authorities involved either. I suppose "ignoring" the issue and pretending as though it never happened seemed like an easier option, but it was affecting me mentally.
Just recently, I dealt with my worst episode of cyberbullying. This cyberbully would send me voice messages screaming and constantly torment me on a daily basis. It very quickly escalated to having my images edited onto pornographic content.
It was driving me insane.
I quickly sought advice from my friends on ways to manage this situation. They gave varying feedback. Some urged me to track this person down and get back at them; some others suggested for me to brush it off and not make a big deal out of it. I was torn and weighed with a tonne of inner conflict.
I was not out to seek for revenge, but I knew that I had to do something about this, for the sake of my sanity. It was pulling me into a depressive state of mind; feeling helpless and hopeless. I thought it would never end. It really felt as though someone else had taken control of my life.
But hey, here I am. I am doing alright. It took me a long time to figure out how to put an end to the cyberbullying as I did not know who to seek guidance from, and did not know the relevant resources to look for.
However, now that I have this knowledge, I hope this could help you or someone you know in navigating through these nasty cyberbullying episodes.
First things first, please remind yourself that you're the ONLY person that understands what you're going through.
Always choose to protect your peace and sanity regardless of what others might say. Ignoring the existence of an issue does not solve it. It's time to say SAYONARA CYBERBULLY and put a full stop to it.
STEP 1: SCREENSHOT AND BLOCK
Screenshot all the necessary information for evidence sake (you'll thank me later!). Once you've collected all necessary evidence, BLOCK that account.
This is solely to protect your peace. Rinse and repeat these steps if your cyberbully decides to create multiple new accounts to harass you. Remember to take screenshots and screen recordings.
STEP 2: REPORT CYBERBULLY
Report the account. Get as many people as you possible to help you report them to the platform authorities, like Instagram, Facebook, etc.
STEP 3: EVALUATE SITUATION
If your cyberbully is persistent in harassing you after your futile efforts of trying to report and block their account, proceed to evaluate the seriousness/severity of the situation.
Others may tell you to let go of the situation, but the higher truth here is that your feelings are valid. No one should make you feel inferior without your consent.
Ask yourself honestly, to what extent is it affecting you?
There's a 50/50 chance here: If you choose to ignore the situation, perhaps you'll be lucky enough that they quit bothering you. But in some cases, cyberbullies may go to greater lengths to get your attention. (eg: getting personal information).
STEP 4: HALO POLIS
If all the steps above have proven to be ineffective, it’s time to take legal action. If you're afraid of higher authorities, get a trustworthy friend to accompany you to the nearest police station.
Express your intention to make a cybercrime report and an officer will help take down your statement. You will then proceed to meet an investigating officer where you can explain your situation a little more in-depth.
Be sure you have all the required information. (This is where the screenshots will come in handy!). Here are some necessary details to prepare before filing a police report. - Name and details of cyberbully account - A clear timeline (the more accurate, the better) - Clear recollection of incidents, preferably chronologically
STEP 5: HALO CYBER POLIS
a) You can report internet-related abuse in Malaysia to Cyber999 via the following ways:
- Online Form: https://www.mycert.org.my/online_form/index.html
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Phone Call: 1-300-88-2999 (9:00am-6:00pm)
- Emergency 24/7: +6019-266 5850
- App Mobile Cyber999 on App Store or Google Play
b) Reporting to MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission)
- Online complaint form: http://aduan.skmm.gov.my/
(MCMC will acknowledge receipt of your complaint with reference number within 3 days. You will receive answers of MCMC's investigation within 15 days from the date of complain received.)
P/S: Remember to attach a copy of your police report in your online report/complaint to either of these two cyberheroes.
For more information, please visit MCMC's official FAQ page: 1. What are the steps required for me to lodge complaints regarding content in the Internet?
Based on what I’ve been through, my word of advice is to stay resilient and always be kind. In light of the emerging Cancel Culture, we may very well also have blood on our hands...
Check yourself - are you a cyberbully?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not in a way that dehumanises another. Always be mindful of your words as you never know what impact it may have on the other party.
I want you to know that you are not alone. Reach out for help. Be bold in taking the first step toward overcoming this mountain You’ll get through this one day at a time. I did, and I know you will too.