Cyberbullying and lesser forms of digital discourteousness are not limited to children and adolescents. Many adults too become the victims of digitally mediated hate speech, online shaming or technologically assisted trash talk. Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg News
Cyberbullying and lesser forms of digital discourteousness are not limited to children and adolescents. Many adults too become the victims of digitally mediated hate speech, online shaming or technoloShow more

Why we should all support #Comment_positively

“Careless talk costs lives". This slogan, famously used to warn against spies during the Second World War, could today apply to the negative aspects of online discourse. Insults, gossip and slander now spread faster, travel farther and live longer than they once did, often with harmful consequences.

In 2003, Ryan Halligan got friendly – or so he thought – with a girl named Ashley. They both attended the same school, Ryan was 13 years old, had learning difficulties, and was frequently bullied. Ashley was pretty and popular. The friendship was a sham. Ashley had pretended to have a crush on Ryan just to entertain her friends. Believing that Ashley really liked him, Ryan began opening up and sharing personal information about himself. Ashley subsequently broadcast Ryan’s secrets to her online audience. Soon after his online shaming, Ryan was found hanged in the family bathroom. He had taken his own life.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me, is only true if we persist in the delusion that psychological pain is somehow not real. Cuts and bruises fade but psychological damage can last a lifetime, negativelyaffecting our relationships with others and how we feel about ourselves. In extreme cases the pain is unbearable and all hope is lost.

The recent #Comment_postively campaign by Abu Dhabi Media urges people to use social media responsibly. The campaign uses images of regional celebrities with bruised faces (digitally edited of course) and carries the caption: “Your words have the power to harm.” The message is simple but powerful: hurtful words are to heart, as fist is to face.

The #Comment_positively ads are part of a broader social campagin against cyberbullying being led by the Arabic language newspaper, Aletihad. This initiative is timely, with recent reports suggesting that cyberbullying is a growing concern both globally and in the UAE.

Following you home from school: A critical review and synthesis of research on cyberbullying victimization is the title of a paper published in 2010 in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. The conclusion of this extensive review was that between 20 and 40 per cent of US youth, regardless of gender, had experienced cyberbullying at least once in their lives. More concerning still, the evidence suggested that this victimisation was associated with serious psychosocial, emotional and academic problems.

We also know from decades of research in the offline world that bullying is to mental health problems what cigarette smoking is to lung cancer and heart disease. In other words, victimisation in childhood is a substantial source of risk for later life mental health problems.

Cyberbullying and lesser forms of digital discourtesy are not limited to children and adolescents. Many adults too become the victims of digitally mediated hate speech, online shaming or technologically assisted trash talk. It seems that our online world brings out the cynic, critic and demagogue in many of us. Too often we say hurtful things online, forgetting that behind the profile pic of our victim sits a real human soul – a thing far easier to damage than repair.

There is a maxim within the Islamic tradition that holds “say something good/positive or remain silent”. This is useful advice for everyone, regardless of religion. Very often the motivation for our negative comments is intolerance. When we can’t tolerate someone else’s culture or opinions, we may feel compelled to comment negatively. Tolerance is all about live and let live;:to you your way, to me mine.

Beyond tolerance, however, is appreciation. If tolerance is staying silent, then appreciation is finding something positive to say. Most people don’t want to be merely tolerated; we would prefer to be appreciated. I add my voice to Aletihad’s praiseworthy campaign against cyberbullying: #Comment_positively.

Dr Justin Thomas is an associate professor at Zayed University and author of Psychological Well-Being in the Gulf States

On Twitter: @DrJustinThomas

Checks continue

A High Court judge issued an interim order on Friday suspending a decision by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots to direct a stop to Brexit agri-food checks at Northern Ireland ports.

Mr Justice Colton said he was making the temporary direction until a judicial review of the minister's unilateral action this week to order a halt to port checks that are required under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Civil servants have yet to implement the instruction, pending legal clarity on their obligations, and checks are continuing.


June 3: NZ Provincial Barbarians 7 Lions 13
June 7: Blues 22 Lions 16
June 10: Crusaders 3 Lions 12
June 13: Highlanders 23 Lions 22
June 17: Maori All Blacks 10 Lions 32
June 20: Chiefs 6 Lions 34
June 24: New Zealand 30 Lions 15
June 27: Hurricanes 31 Lions 31
July 1: New Zealand 21 Lions 24
July 8: New Zealand v Lions

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

The biog

Favourite Emirati dish: Fish machboos

Favourite spice: Cumin

Family: mother, three sisters, three brothers and a two-year-old daughter


Jersey 147 (20 overs) 

UAE 112 (19.2 overs)

Jersey win by 35 runs


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000

Romeo Akbar Walter

Rating: 2/5 stars
Produced by: Dharma Productions, Azure Entertainment
Directed by: Robby Grewal
Cast: John Abraham, Mouni Roy, Jackie Shroff and Sikandar Kher 


Pakistan v Sri Lanka:
28 Sep-2 Oct, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi
6-10 Oct, 2nd Test (day-night), Dubai
13 Oct, 1st ODI, Dubai
16 Oct, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi
18 Oct, 3rd ODI, Abu Dhabi
20 Oct, 4th ODI, Sharjah
23 Oct, 5th ODI, Sharjah
26 Oct, 1st T20I, Abu Dhabi
27 Oct, 2nd T20I, Abu Dhabi
29 Oct, 3rd T20I, Lahore

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative