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Ctrl + Alt + Delete Cyberbullying

Bullying that makes the leap from the playground into the online space is getting more pervasive and can be a lot more dangerous, which made cyberbullying an apt theme for this year’s Bully-Free Youth Forum. The Forum was held on 19 September at the Lifelong Learning Institute.

Themed Youth Voices: Ctrl + Alt + Delete Cyberbullying, this year’s Forum brought together 60 youth from seven secondary schools. They shared their personal experiences and opinions on cyberbullying through performances and presentations prepared during a two-day pre-Forum orientation.

Eight students also participated in a dialogue session on how cyberbullying affects youth, and proposed ways in which they could protect themselves from it. Two hundred members of the audience – which included teachers, youth workers and other members of the public – signalled their agreement using “like” placards inspired by popular social media platforms.

Speaking at the event, Guest-of-Honour Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development, said: “Some psychologists believe that the effects of cyberbullying can be more long-lasting and far-reaching than traditional bullying.”

“Leveraging on anonymity and the accessibility of technology, cyberbullying can be more persistent and continues 24/7, even in the safety of one’s home.”

Now in its 10th year, the Bully-Free Forum was initiated by Children’s Society in 2004 to raise awareness about bullying in school, and is part of the Society’s Bully-Free Programme. As the nature of bullying has evolved, so too has the Forum.

“We will continue to embark on programmes to keep up with the changing landscape in bullying,” said Children’s Society Chairman, Mr Koh Choon Hui. “We also hope to work more with caregivers, through teachers’ training and parenting talks, to create a safe environment for our children and youth.”

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