Cyberbullying Through Intellect - Related Insults

Shahidatul Maslina Mat So’od, Tan Kim Hua, Bahiyah Abdul Hamid


Unrestricted utilisation of digital devices and online platforms promulgates cyberbullying, which has been typically identified with the presence of potentially profane or offensive words that can cause aggravation to others. Previous studies have clarified that certain challenges arise in detecting abusive language in social media, especially on Twitter. The apparent reason for such encounters is typically triggered by the informal language used in various tweets. This study discusses the issues of abusive language that are used in Malaysian’s online communication by highlighting the linguistic features of aggressive insulting words used by social media users in nit-picking an individual’s intelligence. Data collection and analysis are conducted in two stages. Firstly, a self-constructed questionnaire is conducted to elicit imperative keywords or phrases used in assisting subsequent analysis of the content-based approach. Secondly, Twitter data, which have been streamed using the Twitter API and R statistical software, are explored. Thematic analysis is also used in the second phase to analyse the keywords that are subjected to qualitative explanations. Initial results indicate ‘bodoh’ as the most common online insult used to degrade an individual’s intelligence. Twitter users also make use of more abusive words (insults) in Malay than in English for degrading purposes through a variety of intelligence-related insults such as ‘bebal’, ‘sengal’, ‘gila’, ‘bodoh’, ‘bangang’, ‘bengap’, ‘semak’ and ‘bongok’. Likewise, linguistics realisations such as spelling alteration, word repetition, laughing remarks, punctuations, animal imagery, dialect interference, code-mixing, and Malaysian English markers are observed through the features of those highlighted insults.


Keywords: Bully, Twitter, intelligence, insults, social media.

Full Text:



Abu Bakar, H. S. (2015). The emergence themes of cyberbullying among adolescences. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 20(4), 393-406.

Al Garadi, M. A., Varathan, K. D., & Ravana, S. D. (2016). Cybercrime detection in online communications: The experimental case of cyberbullying detection in the Twitter network. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 433-443.

Ang, R. P., & Goh, D. H. (2010). Cyberbullying among adolescents: The role of affective and cognitive empathy, and gender. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 41(4), 387-397.

Asanan, Z. Z. T., Hussain, I. A., & Laidey, N. M. (2017). A study on cyberbullying: Its forms, awareness and moral reasoning among youth. International Journal of Media and Communication, 1(1), 1-5.

Balakrishnan, V. (2015). Cyberbullying among young adults in Malaysia: The roles of gender, age and Internet frequency. Computers in Human Behaviour, 46, 149 – 157.

Brown, V. (2017, October 18). Cyberbullying: Words can hurt too. The Star. Retrieved from

Chasib, H. A. (2014). Exploring the effects of cyber-bullying on student's attitude in online learning: A case study of UUM (Doctoral dissertation, Universiti Utara Malaysia).

Crystal, D. (1987). The Cambridge encyclopedia of language. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Don, Z. M. (2003). Language-dialect code-switching: Kelantanese in a multilingual context. Multilingua, 22(1), 21-40. Retrieved on January 20, 2019 from

Evason, N. (2016). Malaysian culture - References. Retrieved from

Gan, S. S., Zhong, C., Das, S., Gan, J. S., Willis, S., & Tully, E. (2014). The prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying in high school: A 2011 survey. Int J Adolesc Med Health, 26(1), 27-31.

Ghani, N. M., & Ghazali, S. (2015). Tindak balas pengguna YouTube terhadap kes buli dalam kalangan remaja di Malaysia. Sains Humanika, 6(1).

Guan, N. C., Kanagasundram, S., Ann, Y. H., Hui, T. L., & Mun, T. K. (2016). Cyber bullying-a new social menace. Advisory Board, Associate Editors Associations Between Low Self-Control and Editorial Board Members iii-v And Aggression Among Malaysian Male Prisoners 79-86 Information for Authors vi, 104.

Hadei, M., Kumar, V. C., & Jie, K. S. (2016). Social factors for code-switching: A study of Malaysian-English bilingual speakers. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 4(3), 122-127.

Hussain, M. G., Al Mahmud, T., & Akthar, W. (2018, December). An approach to detect abusive bangla text. In 2018 International Conference on Innovation in Engineering and Technology (ICIET) (pp. 1-5). IEEE.

Ibrohim, M. O., & Budi, I. (2018). A dataset and preliminaries study for abusive language detection in Indonesian social media. Procedia Computer Science, 135, 222-229.

Ismail, I. R., Noh, C. H. C., & Omar, K. (2016). Knowing the taboos, improve intercultural communication: A study at Terengganu, east coast of Malaysia. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 219, 359-366. Retrieved on January 18, 2019 from

Kowalski, R. M., Giumetti, G. W., Schroeder, A. N., Lattanner, M. R. (2014). Bullying in the digital age: A critical review and meta-analysis of cyberbullying research among youth. Psychol Bull, 140(4), 1073-137.

Lai, C. S., Mohamad, M. M., Lee, M. F., Mohd Salleh, K., Sulaiman, N. L., & Chang, W. V. S. (2016). Cyberbullying among youth in Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Youth Studies, 15.

Lee, Z. E. (2015). Colloquial Malaysian English (CMalE): A problem or a cool phenomenon? Retrieved from (2019, January, 31). Malaysia among top 10 Instagram users in the world. Retrieved from

Malaymail. (2018, September 1). Legend Hawk slams Malaysian skater haters as games teen trolled. Retrieved from

Miller, K. (2016). Cyberbullying and its consequences: How cyberbullying is contorting the minds of victims and bullies alike, and the law's limited available redress. S. Cal. Interdisc. LJ, 26, 379.

Mitchell, K. J., Ybarra, M. L., & Korchmaros, J. D. (2014). Sexual harassment among adolescents of different sexual orientations and gender identities. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(2), 280-295.

Nandhini, B. S., & Sheeba, J. I. (2015, March). Cyberbullying detection and classification using information retrieval algorithm. Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Advanced Research in Computer Science Engineering & Technology (ICARCSET 2015) (pp. 1-5).

Noh, C. H. C., & Ibrahim, M. Y. (2014). Kajian penerokaan buli siber dalam kalangan pelajar UMT. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 134, 323-329.

Ozden, M. S., & Icellioglu, S. (2014). The perception of cyberbullying and cybervictimization by university students in terms of their personality factors. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 4379-4383.

Pitsilis, G. K., Ramampiaro, H., & Langseth, H. (2018). Detecting offensive language in tweets using deep learning. Applied Intelligence, 48(12), 4730-4742.

Rezvan, M., Shekarpour, S., Balasuriya, L., Thirunarayan, K., Shalin, V. L., & Sheth, A. (2018). A quality type - Aware annotated corpus and lexicon for harassment research. Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Web Science (pp. 33-36).

Romlah Ramli. (2013). Culturally appropriate communication in Malaysia: Budi bahasa as warranty component in Malaysian discourse. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 8(1), 65 – 78. doi: 10.1080/17447143.2012.753895.

Rosli, J. (2018, October 27). Malaysia sixth-worst in global cyber-bullying ladder, survey shows. Retrieved from

Sari, S. V., & Camadan, F. (2016). The new face of violence tendency: Cyber bullying perpetrators and their victims. Computers in Human Behavior, 59, 317-326.

Selkie, E. M., Fales, J. L., & Moreno, M. A. (2016). Cyberbullying prevalence among US middle and high school–aged adolescents: A systematic review and quality assessment. Journal of Adolescent Health, 58(2), 125-133.

Simon, S. (2017). Cyber victimization: School experience of Malaysian cyberbullied teenagers. International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 11(3), 713–720.

Syafique, S. (2014, December 24). Cyberbullying on the rise in 2014: Who is responsible for the phenomenon?. Astro Awani. Retrieved from

Tang, R. (2016, July 5). Cruel insults hurled at this Malaysian woman continued even after her suicide note. Retrieved from

Telenorgroup. (2016, June 17). Telenor group supports ‘stop cyberbullying day 2016’ across its markets in Asia. Retrieved from

The Star. (2018, August 30). More and more celebrities are being bullied online. Retrieved from

van Geel, M., Vedder, P., Tanilon, J. (2014). Relationship between peer victimization, cyberbullying, and suicide in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr, 168(5), 435-44.

Yusuf, S., Hassan, M. S. H., & Ibrahim, A. M. M. (2018). Cyberbullying among Malaysian children based on research evidence. Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology (4th ed., pp. 1704-1722). IGI Global.

Yusuf, S., Hassan, M. S., Samah, B. A., Ibrahim, M. S., Ramli, N. S., Rahman, N. A. A., & Osman, M. N. (2018). Parental attachment and cyberbullying experiences among Malaysian children. Pertanika Journal of Scholarly Research Reviews, 4(1).


  • There are currently no refbacks.

e-ISSN: 2289-1528