Singapore — A Microsoft survey of online harassment showed Singapore ranks second in the world for online bullying of youths, said Law Minister K Shanmugam on Monday.
Speaking at a conference on harassment organized by the Institute of Policy Studies, Mr. Shanmugam said the government of Singapore intends to get tough in dealing with cyber bullying.
He said a review of legal provisions to address the issue could take place early in 2014.
He also said a government survey revealed 80 percent of Singaporeans felt it was a serious issue in their country, and 87 percent said those who harass others should be dealt with firmly under the law.
The only country that ranked above Singapore in online bullying was China. The Microsoft survey was conducted last year on 25 nations.
The conference discussed issues of bullying and harassment, both online and in schools, said reports.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah said: “For schools and children, you wouldn’t be applying heavy criminal penalties generally. It is a question of education, teaching them respect for each other and common courtesy in common space, and basically helping the teachers to understand such issues and working with the parents.”
Mr Shanmugam said: “Children are psychologically, physically less able to deal with these issues than grown-up adults. And if so many children are impacted, later on it will have a deep impact on society as they become adults.”
“It is for us to try and step in and try and help them and as I also said, a large part of this would have to be social norms of how it is dealt with in schools, how it is dealt with at home,” he added.