New programme on cyber bullying for primary schools

Pupils from West View Primary School pledging to promote responsible online behaviour. The school is the first to roll out the new cyber wellness programme. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Pupils from West View Primary School pledging to promote responsible online behaviour. The school is the first to roll out the new cyber wellness programme. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

A programme has been introduced to teach primary school pupils about cyber bullying, in the wake of the Anton Casey and Quek Zhen Hao cases.

Briton Casey, 39, who had been working here as a wealth manager, had called public transport commuters in Singapore "poor people". Undergraduate Quek, 24, had been caught on video twice in the same day for driving dangerously. Both were flamed online and threatened by netizens.

Referring to such Internet vigilantism, Mrs Carmee Lim, vice-chairman of the Media Literacy Council, which promotes cyber wellness, said: "It is almost like taking the laws into your own hands.We want our young children to reflect and ask themselves if this is the right behaviour. We don't want them to keep silent when they see instances of cyber bullying."

The council launched the programme yesterday in conjunction with Safer Internet Day, a global campaign for more responsible use of the Web and mobile phones.

Developed by Korean non-profit organisation infollutionZERO and Nanyang Technological University, the programme teaches children to identify cyber bullying and to handle it appropriately, through online activities. In these, the cyber bully is portrayed as a monster and players score points by "blocking" it.

Dr Yuhyun Park, chief executive and co-founder of infollutionZERO, hopes the programme will teach young children to overcome cyber bullying.

Ms Ngiam Wee Heng, head of infocomm technology at West View Primary School, the first to roll out the programme, said: "Many times, pupils don't realise the impact of their words. Neither do they realise that when they say things on the Internet, it reaches a much wider audience and may, therefore, have greater repercussions."

PEARL LEE

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