X Close Search

Chinese Authorities Address Online Bullying

With the largest internet community on earth, Chinese authorities are making efforts to regain control of growing problems with cyberbullying, online abuse and internet addiction.

Chinese authorities have published a draft legislative document addressing the issues surrounding online bullying, including the protection of young people and intervention for Internet addiction. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council (LAOSC) has published the document, and accepted public feedback up until February 6th.

The draft states that no individual is allowed to abuse or bully a minor online and that guardians and schools should contact the police if the believe a child is at risk. The document goes on to state that a minors personal details and data must not be collected or used without proper consent and that site owners may face heavy fines or even closure if they do not comply. Abusive and coercive measures have also been banned in the intervention or prevention of juvenile internet addiction.

With over 700 million Chinese internet users, 160 million of which are under the age of 19, these steps are a sign that the Chinese government is taking the issues that effect so many of their young digital citizens very seriously. As the online community in China continues to grow it is important that these and other measures are developed to meet this growing problem.

We have seen cyberbullying and online abuse manifest itself in many different forms around the word and China is no different. One notorious form of trolling in China is known as ‘The Human Flesh Search Engine”, which emerged more than a decade ago and consists of internet users working together to target individuals for perceived wrongdoings. Tens of thousands of people can become involved with victims being publicly shamed and abused.

Describing this behavior, Zhou Zongkui a specialist in Teenager Cyber Psychology and Behaviour from the Central China Normal University commented,
“They spread rumours about you or defame you online in order to isolate or marginalise you. It is hard for people that age to bear and it makes them depressed.”
Research undertaken by the university includes a study of over 1400 high school students. The study revealed that 34% of students had bullied someone online and 58% reported being bullied online.

China currently has the world’s largest Internet community with over one and a quarter billion users.

As you are probably aware, we specialise in the support of cyberbullying and online abuse victims. If you are affected, please access our global support service or visit our cyberbullying and online abuse help center. For further information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the following recommendations.

Tweet us your thoughts about the steps the Chinese authorities are taking @CybersmileHQ.