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Victims of cyberbullying said that beyond the immediate hurt, it has had a long-lasting impact on their mental health due to the effect on their formative years.

SINGAPORE — Having distanced herself from a close female friend after a falling out, Ms Erin Seah, then 15, thought that she could move on.

Then one night, her phone buzzed — a mutual friend sent a slew of screenshots from an Instagram post where she was called, among other things, attention-seeking and dumb.
Ms Seah recalled the horror of learning about the post which had vulgarities and veiled threats of violence targeted towards her. Her friend-turned-bully wrote: “I swear… I WILL break my no detention record in school since Secondary 1 for the sake of just one punch to give it to ya.”

While her name was not mentioned in the post, a comment confirmed her doubts. “You’re talking about E**n, right,” read the comment in a screenshot Ms Seah showed TODAY.

What started the torrent of online abuse? It was over the same mutual friend that had sent her the screenshots — Ms Seah had rejected his feelings, and her bully took it personally.

Although some six years have passed since the cyberbullying took place, Ms Seah, now 21, told TODAY that she has yet to put the traumatic episode fully behind her…