Editorial Notes

Cyberspace needs regulation to put an end to online bullying: China Daily

The paper says the regulatory authorities should adopt a zero-tolerance attitude toward cyber bullying.

People use their mobile phones as they walk out of a subway station in Beijing on Oct 23, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - That an increasing number of minors are being targeted by cyberbullies has made it necessary to better safeguard minors' rights and interests on the internet, and create a clean cyberspace.

Not long ago, a 13-year-old girl was bullied online after some people spread rumors on WeChat that she had several boyfriends. The girl was made to pay 2,000 yuan (S$419) for deleting those posts. The whole ordeal made her withdraw into a shell and stop going to school. She, in fact, slipped into depression.

According to the procuratorial bodies dealing with cases involving infringements on minors' rights and interests, apart from making personal attacks online, some elements have even revealed minors' personal information, causing them great psychological harm.

The management "vacuum" on some online platforms and the anonymity the internet offers to netizens have to some extent encouraged "online bullies" to target minors. And the emergence of various social media outlets has provided diverse platforms for some to spread rumors and target others online.

So the regulatory authorities should adopt a zero-tolerance attitude toward cyber bullying.

According to a regulation that came into effect on March 1, online information users, producers and platforms should not indulge in online abuse, misuse people's personal information, or forge information and/or manipulate accounts.

The regulation on the protection of minors, which the Ministry of Education will implement on Sept 1, will put in place a special system to tackle online bullying at school. And the newly revised Law on the Protection of Minors has a section on "online protection", according to which individuals and organizations that insult, slander or threaten minors or misuse their pictures, audios or videos will face punishment.

In order to effectively enforce these laws and regulations, and so as to stop the dissemination of misleading information, it is necessary that the authorities strengthen supervision, and the platforms and internet service providers remove and block cyber bullying posts.

It is also necessary for parents, teachers and other institutions to make minors better aware of the dangers of the internet and teach them how to deal with cyber bullying.

  • China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media titles.

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