Parliamentary Replies

September 04, 2020

Cyberbullying

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Shawn Huang Wei Zhong, Jurong GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) over the last three years, what is the number of cases of cyber bullying reported in primary and secondary schools respectively; (b) whether there are established guidelines of corrective actions to be taken against the perpetrators; and (c) whether the Ministry has plans to further develop cybersecurity infrastructure and legal frameworks to protect children against cyber bullying.

Response

1. MOE and schools take a serious view of all bullying incidents, including cyber bullying. Schools put in place school rules and ICT policies to create safe and supportive learning environments, both physical and online. Through the Cyber Wellness lessons, students are taught to protect themselves online, as well as help their peers who have been bullied.

2. The number of reported cyber bullying incidents remains low and stable over the past 3 years. When cyber bullying incidents occur, our primary approach is to help students learn from their mistakes, restore relationships and refrain from future occurrences. When the cases are reported, they are promptly investigated, and appropriate disciplinary action is taken to guide perpetrators and restore relationships with those whom they have hurt. Counselling support is also provided to victims and perpetrators. Referrals may be made to Response, Early Intervention and Assessment in Community mental Health (REACH) as well as social and community agencies for specialised support.

3. Schools are also supported by ICT infrastructure with technologies such as network filtering of inappropriate content, network security and endpoint protection. Best practices in classroom management to encourage proper behaviours as well as security protocol against cybersecurity threats such as hijacking of online live lessons, phishing and ransomware are shared with schools. There are also resources available for parents, such as information on parental control and monitoring of students’ device usage to reduce the exposure to cyber risks.