Trolling. Shaming. Impersonation. Altered videos and images. Bullying has entered the virtual sphere—and it’s grown exponentially in variety and volume. If you’re a parent, there’s a high chance you’ve asked yourself some of the following questions: How can I help my child if they’re being cyberbullied? What if the cyberbullies are anonymous? Who can I turn to for advice with this?

As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re living online more than ever: work from home, home-based learning, Zoom calls to catch up with loved ones, you name it. And that doesn’t just apply to adults—kids are spending a significant amount of time on their devices playing games, watching videos and interacting with friends.

Yet the internet brings the risk of cyberbullying to young people’s doorsteps, and it is more vicious than ever. The inaugural 2020 Child Online Safety Index report found that 60% of kids aged 8-12 across 30 countries are exposed to cyber risks, of which 45% experienced cyberbullying, either as bullies or as victims. In the context of Singapore, 40% of those aged 8-12 and 52% of those aged 13-19 are at risk of cyberbullying. Leaving a disparaging comment or two on someone’s post “for fun” may seem relatively harmless, but it has very real consequences: Victims of bullying are more likely to develop anxiety, fear, depression, low self-esteem and academic difficulties. And too many parents are at a loss when their children become victims of cyberbullying—or perpetrators.

We know we can’t protect our children from the perils of the internet forever. But we can try to set them up to process and unpack our rapidly changing online culture.

Join Tan Joo Hymn, Project Director for AWARE’s Birds & Bees programme, Dr Anuradha Rao, a cybersafety expert, Joanne Wong, head of TOUCH Cyber Wellness, and Kevin Teo, a parent, on Thursday, 21 April 2022, for a panel discussion on cyberbullying and cultivating cyber-wellness at home.

This event is pay-what-you-can. Suggested donation of $5 per head.

Date: Thursday, 21 April 2022

Time: 8-9.30pm

Our panellists:

Dr Anuradha Rao

Dr. Anuradha Rao is a Singapore-based academic-turned-cyber safety awareness entrepreneur, who is passionate about making cyberspace a safer and happier place for individuals, families and organisations. She founded CyberCognizanz to equip internet users with skills, knowledge and best practices to safeguard themselves from a range of online harms, including cyber-bullying, harassment, disinformation and online scams. Her cyber-parenting programme focuses on engaging parents and guardians to keep their children and teenagers safer online. She also conducts workshops and gives talks on cyber-wellbeing, cyber-ethics, building trust and enhancing communication in cyberspace.

Tan Joo Hymn

Tan Joo Hymn is the project director of Birds & Bees and AWARE’s sexuality education programmes. She has been a volunteer at AWARE for over 20 years, which includes a term as AWARE president. She is also a facilitator, storyteller, trained lawyer and early childhood educator. She is the proud mother of three wonderful human beings.

Joanne Wong

Joanne Wong is the Head of TOUCH Cyber Wellness (TCW), a service of TOUCH Integrated Family Group. Over the years, she has conducted numerous workshops for a wide range of audience, including children, teenagers, educators, social work practitioners, counsellors and seniors. Beyond education work, she oversees the centre work in TCW, focusing on customising and conducting prevention and intervention programmes for cyber addiction issues. With a decade of experience at TCW, Joanne is a passionate and dynamic trainer who believes in partnering with parents and the community to support and empower the next generation in navigating the digital space.

Kevin Teo

Kevin Teo is the Chief Operating Officer at the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, where he oversees the markets and digital transformation teams. Prior to that, he was a founding partner of Volans, a social innovation company with offices in London and Singapore. Kevin was previously Head of East and Southeast Asia at the Schwab Foundation of Social Entrepreneurship and Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum. Kevin is also a Trustee of the Southeast Asian Service Leadership Network (SEALNet), a non-profit he co-founded in 2004. At home, he is a father to two teenage sons.

Faeza Sirajudin (moderator)

Faeza “Fuzzie” Sirajudin is CEO and co-founder of Face The Future, a company that equips young people with the human skills they need to thrive in an unpredictable world. Before that, she was an educator in the public, private and international education environment for over 20 years. She has spent the last 10 years designing physical and virtual games and experiences to help young people activate their abilities to solve problems, interact with others, continually learn, be resilient and have impact.

Source: Association of Women for Action and Research