Nearly half of Singaporeans have been harmed online but done nothing: survey

SINGAPORE – Almost half of Singaporeans have personally experienced harm online, most of whom were between the ages of 15 and 35, a survey has found.

Online harms include online harassment and cyberbullying, and befriending people who have used false identities.

But around 43% of the more than 1,000 people surveyed said they had not taken action against online harm because they believed it would make no difference if they did anything.

These are the findings of an online survey conducted by Sunlight Alliance for Action (AfA), a cross-industry alliance that tackles online dangers, shared by senior researcher at the Institute of Policy Studies Chew Han Ei on Friday evening. (March 25).

Failing to take action to report perpetrators, however, will compound the harm caused, said the webinar speakers on online harms to young people. The panel included representatives from academia, students, as well as the legal and technology industries.

“Bystanders play a very important role in terms of supporting people who may be harmed online, especially on very public platforms such as Instagram,” said communications and technology professor Lim Sun Sun of the Institute. Singapore University of Technology and Design.

“Calling out your abusers, the people who are stressing you out (and) causing you harm — it actually gives victims that sense of strength, that sense of validation that they’re not alone in the world,” she said. added.

Citing rapper Kanye West’s threats to Kim Kardashian after their divorce, Professor Lim noted that it was “disturbing” that many fans made comments on Instagram urging the celeb to harass his ex-wife by line.

The encouragement and validation of harmful behavior sets a dangerous standard for future perpetrators to continue inflicting harm on their victims, Professor Lim warned.

Reporting harmful online behavior to tech companies will also help refine algorithms on social media platforms to detect similar incidents, she said.

In his presentation of the survey, Dr Chew observed that it was also “concerning” that around 57 per cent of those polled did not know or only slightly knew where to seek help.

SafeNUS President Nisha Rai agreed, adding that many survivors of sexual harassment who consulted the student-run group based at the National University of Singapore (NUS) were unaware of reporting processes and how to trace perpetrators. with hidden identities.

For starters, victims should immediately try to gather evidence or it could be suppressed while they deliberate what to do, lawyer Simran Toor said.