By Jane Lo, Singapore Correspondent
Courtesy of International Cyber Women’s Day 2021, ISACA Singapore Chapter – SG Cyber Women X – ISACA SLT: Cyber Wellness Oversight (17th Sept 2021)
“In our technology community, we have been focusing so much on the hard core topics such as cyber attacks and breaches, and a lot of softer topics have been forgotten,”” said Jenny Tan (VP, ISACA Singapore Chapter) in her opening remarks to the session on “Understanding Cyber Abuse – How everyone can help to prevent it” with Mrs Anita Low-Lim (Senior Director, TOUCH Integrated Family Group Impact & Research Paternship, Volunteer Management & Communications).
“Cyber Abuse is an important topic,” she said, “and especially during Covid times, a lot of mental wellness issues have received much attention”.
Indeed, after a year of dealing with a raging pandemic, mental health has emerged as an important health concern. For example, studies conducted by the Singapore’s Ministry of Health revealed higher than average utilisations of mental health services.
While we may cite the stress of dealing with uncertainties over routines and livelihoods, there is another aspect of mental health is also increasingly of concern.
Partly due to the social isolation brought about by safe management measures, we have turned to online platforms. This digitalisation of our social interactions has exacerbated the opportunities for potential abuses in the cyber space and statistics point to an alarming rise of the problem, especially among the young.
In addressing this challenge, Mrs Anita Lim introduced the work of TOUCH Cyber Wellness, a service of Touch Community Services, that help families understand the types and forms of cyber abuse, and adopt an approach to begin preventive approach at home.
“We are advocating we understand who the players are, and what can be done to prevent it,” she said.
Aside from “cyber bullying”, Mrs Lim also pointed to two other prominent activities in the cyber space that target especially the vulnerable young – “abusive behaviours on social media”, and “grooming and non-consensual porn exposure”.
Highlighting the different cyber wellness risks (that is, where the well-being of internet users and online communities are threatened and/or negatively impacted), she cautioned: “how often are you online on social media” because “research shows that the more time spent, the more abuse encountered.”
“Cyber Abuse can happen to anyone, and all of us must know something about Cyber Abuse, so that we can help those who are around us,” she said.
“And parents’ involvement is critical, it must start from home,” she stressed.
For more information, go to –www.touchcyberwellness.org.sg.