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- Melissa Hui Xin Yue
Q3: In the recent times, cyber bullying and hate mongering towards people groups have increased, especially in social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and other forms of similar negative impressions have dominated cyber space. Analytically discuss ways and means to combat the above mentioned phenomena in an amicable and workable manner.
According to Bill Belsey (2000), cyberbullying is defined as activity that involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm others. In this digital era, it is without a doubt that most children have their own cell phones, and with the fast Internet connectivity, it is safe to assume that most of the children has at least one social media account. This increase the chance of them being a cyberbully or being cyberbullied. Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism is generally associated with bullying. In a 1991 Runnymede Trust Report, Islamophobia was defined as hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims. Whereas Anti-Semitism is the prejudice, discrimination and hatred of Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or a racial group (Lipset, 1969). These cyberbullying activities can be stopped and prevented by raising awareness for Islamic practices and Judaism, have counselling for students who are being cyberbullied and government’s efforts in stopping cyberbully.
Cyberbullying activities towards Jews and Muslims is a problem that can be stopped by raising awareness about Islamic practices and Judaism. Awareness can be raised by operating campaigns about Islamic belief and Judaism. These campaigns should run throughout the whole year in schools and also in public areas. Governments and schools should see the brighter side of these two religions instead of stereotyping them as terrorist in accordance to what have happened in the events of 9/11 Attacks in New York (2001) and Charlie Hebdo killings (2014). According to Martin et al. (2011), stereotyping is categorizing information about others in daily life. Campaigns should have activities like cultural talks about what Islamic beliefs and Judaism are about. What could be better than a little bit of eye candy to catch your attention? Clothing and accessories can be used as a media to spread awareness. Example, you can wear a blue t-shirt in support of Islamic beliefs and Judaism. Games and activities with the Muslims and Jews will show how friendly and fun they are in contrast of the stereotypes that people have about them. Student exchange programmes are a good way to raise awareness on Muslim students or Jewish students. These students can show their host families about their religion and culture, prompting their host families to stop having stereotypes towards the students’ religion. In response to the event September 11, 2001, Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program is one of the programme that provides scholarship for students from Islamic countries to learn about American society and values (YESprograms, 2002). With raising awareness, this will help the students and society to not be afraid of Muslims and Jews. Thus, discrimination and cyberbullying towards Muslims and Jews will decrease because they understand and empathize that everyone in the world has feelings.
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Counselling is a great way to stop cyberbullying. Although you might think that counselling will not do much change, but in fact, according to Bower and Rowland (2006), counselling is more effective than usual care, people receiving counselling is likely to be satisfied after treatment. Muslims and Jews who are being cyberbullied can go to see a counsellor whether at school or outside of school. Victims can choose to join either one-on-one sessions if they are too shy or they can join group sessions where they get to listen to other victims’ experiences. Listening to other victims can help them because they empathize with the victims. Based on Dr Brené Brown’s research (2010), she defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. When a victim decides to share his or her experience, the victim is being courageous to face his or her problem. Counsellors should always encourage the victims to talk about their feelings and relieve their stress about being in their own religion. Group sessions not only have experience sharing, but also should have games and activities to bring the victims together and show them that they are not alone. Dr Brené Brown once said, “To practice courage and compassion is to look at life and people around us”. Counsellors should teach the victims the ways to protect themselves when they are being cyberbullied, like reporting to the police or blocking the cyberbully on internet. No doubt that counselling is able to make an impact in the lives of victims of cyberbully.
The Government should do their parts in stopping cyberbullying toward Muslims and Jews. Whenever victims report about cyberbullying, the police should not turn a blind eye over them just because the police is Islamophobia or Anti-Semitism. Police should be fair and just when it comes to criminal and law-breaking citizens. B.F. Skinner (1938) coined the term operant conditioning; it means roughly changing of behaviour by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response. If the cyberbully is a student, the school should give warning to the cyberbully. The cyberbully must undergo charity hours if caught cyberbullying anyone if caught by the school. These charity hours help them to reflect on themselves for what they have done so that they will not repeat it again. Governments should take away the cyberbullies’ electronic devices and internet when they are caught cyberbullying. Government should impose and reinforce the laws on cyberbullying. Hiring more cyber polices will help to decrease the cyberbullying rate. Actions will be taken if the cyber police accepts bribery from the cyberbully. Incentives can be given by the government for the non-profit counselling groups that help the victims of cyberbullying. The government should provide a building for the non-profit counselling groups to do their activities in. By doing this, the government is helping the victims indirectly because the government provided facilities for the counselling groups. Thus, Muslims and Jews can share their emotions and relieve their stress caused by cyberbullying.
Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism should not be the topic for cyberbullying nor should any characteristics be used as a topic for cyberbullying. You may not be the ones being cyberbullied, maybe one day your child might be cyberbullied. Being born into your own race is not your fault or your choice, we cannot change our race and should not discriminate other race as well. So, let us make an effort to stop cyberbully towards Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism by raising awareness, counselling sessions and also government’s efforts in stopping cyberbullying.
- Belsey, B. (2000). Cyberbullying. Retrieved March 10, 2015, from http://www.cyberbullying.org/
- Defining “Islamophobia” (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2015, from http://crg.berkeley.edu/content/islamophobia/defining-islamophobia
- 9/11 Attacks. (2010). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-attacks#
- Charlie Hebdo and its satirical role. (2015, January 8). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-15551998
- About YES Program. (2001, January 1). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://yesprograms.org/about
- Lipset, S. M., “The Socialism of Fools- The Left, the Jews and Israel,” Encounter, (December 1969), p.24 Retrieved March 11, 2015
- Martin, J.N. , Nakayama, T.K. (2011), Experiencing Intercultural Communication, McGraw-Hill International Edition
- Bower Peter, J. and N. Rowland (2006) Effectiveness and cost effectiveness of counselling in primary care. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Retrieved March 12, 2015
- Brown, B. (2010, September 1). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Retrieved March 12, 2015
- Skinner, B. F. (1938).The Behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York: Appleton-Century.
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