What Is Cyberbullying And How To Prevent It?


Posted On : April 13, 2022
What Is Cyberbullying And How To Prevent It?
Have you been a victim of bullying at school? Or were you the one who would keep commenting at the shy fellows? The acts may be fun to some but the victim may have long-term mental and physical effects. That is why cyberbullying in one way or the other constitutes various crimes. If someone is asked to define what is cyberbullying, the task may be troublesome even for someone with legal background. Find out what is cyberbullying, how someone can become a victim of it. Also, check how to stop cyberbullying on social media.
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Have you ever commented over a social media post in a harassing way just to show your rage? Have you posted embarrassing pictures of a friend which was not something funny but harassing for them? Have you ever made derogatory remarks for someone over the internet? If there is a yes to any of these, then you are cyberbullying and it is against the laws. There is a big difference between bullying and cyberbullying. The former happens face to face, usually during daytime and may happen in the presence of others. Cyberbullying may happen at any hour of the day or night, the privacy level of conversation may be personal or public, and the effect is next level. Also, another big deal with cyberbullying is that the offender can be an identified person or may even act anonymously.


What is Cyberbullying? - Examples

To understand what crime is cyberbullying, the lack of statutory definition leaves some doubts.  However, it can generally be understood as an intimidating, harassing or threatening communication with someone through digital or electronic means. It should be noted that children, specifically teenagers, are most likely to be victims of cyberbullying. In order to know how can you help to stop cyberbullying, it is crucial to understand what exactly constitutes the act. Given below are some examples of acts that contribute to cyberbullying.


Examples of Cyberbullying

  • Exclusion - Although the act per se may not be an offence, excluding someone on social media platforms from online activities can be humiliating, especially for students.
  • Harassment - Sending messages using abusing or threatening language is harassment. Penal Code punishes harassment of various natures. Even some offensive whatsapp posts may prove to be harassing materials.
  • Dissing - Posting cruel information over the platforms in order to cause damage to another’s reputation. It should be noted that dissing is not confined to textual but graphical content as well.
  • Outing - Publicly humiliating a person or a group by posting personal or embarrassing information over the internet without consent.
  • Cyberstalking - Just like stalking is an offence, following a woman over the internet to forcefully foster personal relations is also an offence.
  • Fraping - When someone hacks your login ID and impersonates you, the threat is real. Posts by them are considered by you and this may lead to financial frauds as well.
  • Catfishing - If someone uses your profile picture for another account using your identity recreating a social media profile deceiving others, it is called catfishing. It may prove a threat to a person’s online reputation.
  • Trickery - Gaining another person’s trust giving false sense of security so as to share any kind of secrets or private information publicly over the internet.
  • Sexual harassment - Sending obscene photos and vides to someone over the internet is also a form of sexual harassment.
  • Fake Profiles - The accounts with names ‘Angel Priya’ are quite infamous in the name of fake profiles. Committing wrongs using anonymous or unreal identity is also an offence.
  • Trolling - It is a commonly heard term when it comes to celebrities. Trolling can be understood as personally attacking another person to humiliate the person.


What is Cyberbullying under Indian Laws?

In India, what act constitutes an offence has been defined under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. There is no mention of what is cyberbullying under the penal code. However, the Information Technology Act, 2000 deals with acts committed over the internet that can make up an offence. Cybersbullying is one such offence which is regulated as per the IT Act, 2000. 


What is the Aim of Cyberbullying?

When it comes to achieving something through cyberbullying, it is nothing. However, the aim of cyberbullying is usually to annoy, humiliate or anger the other person so that they react emotionally. If it is about a known person from the same class or school, the aim could be to harm the victim’s image as well.


Signs Among Children Affected by Cyberbullying

When someone becomes a target of cyberbullying, there are certain changes in their behaviour which can be noticed by the people surrounding them. Given below are some usual signs of victims of cyberbullying:

  • Being disturbed, distressed, or upset during or after using the internet. 
  • Afraid to share about things and people with parents.
  • Avoiding school, friends or any social activities or gatherings.
  • Secret life over the internet.
  • Physical fatigue or frequent illness like stomach ache or headache.
  • Nervousness or annoyance while receiving a text message etc.


How Can Social Media Stop Bullying?

Social media has become too accessible in the past decade. While using social media, people often forget or miss out knowing the fact that even while in the virtual world, laws are applicable upon them. After various instances of cyber crimes, there are options of reporting and redressal over social media platforms as well. There are options for removal of objectionable content from the internet available. Hence, the first thing to do while using cyberspace is to know the laws applicable, what is legal and what is not, what is cyberbullying, etc.. With that, it is easy not to act ignorantly and also be careful when you are the victim. Being aware of the threat and being vigilant is how can you help to stop cyberbullying. 

Contact cyber crime lawyer in Kolkata for detailed expert advice.


How to Stop Cyberbullying? - Tips for Parents

If any of the signs of cyberbullying are noticed among children, it is the duty of parents to find some solutions on how to stop cyberbullying and help their children. Given below are some tips suggested by experts that may help stop cyberbullying:

  • Parents should know about what their children are doing over the internet. 
  • Have a casual connect with children and share conversations about their days at school, work or even the virtual world.
  • If you notice any behavioural changes in your child, talk to them. 
  • Rather than grounding your own child, taking away gadgets, etc., help them report cyberbullying.
  • If it is not your own child but someone else’s child who is being witnessed by your child being a victim of cyberbullying, tell them to speak up.
  • If it is your own child cyberbullying another child, it is better to speak up and take action. Otherwise it may turn out to be a legal trouble later on. 
  • If it is among school children, report to the school suggesting ways on how to stop cyberbullying.
  • If things are serious and you wish to take legal action against the offender, consult with a cyber crime lawyer


How to Stop Cyberbullying as a Student?

It is difficult to tackle things as a student, whether it is about your friend or you are yourself a victim. However, regardless of how troublesome it is, finding solutions on how to stop cyberbullying is important. As a student or a child, you can do the following acts to help: 

  • Reach out a trusted person, be it a parent, sibling, a teacher, etc.
  • If not comfortable to share with known people, call the cyberbullying India helpline number at 1930. 
  • You can also go for registration  of complaint in cyber cell.
  • Report the bully on the online platform through which cyberbullying is committed.
  • If your friend is a victim of cyberbullying, help them inform a trusted adult. 
  • To restrict scope of misuse, share personal information over the internet carefully. There are privacy settings on conventional social media platforms which can restrict your audience.  
  • Rather than replying to what is cyberbullying, it is better to report them since the ultimate goal behind cyberbullying is to seek attention, anger and emotional responses.


Inference

In the digital world where we are looking forward to a metaverse, avoiding the use of the internet is not feasible. It should not even be for the very reason that others are misusing it. Now that it is understood what is cyberbullying and how to prevent it, the importance of reporting the offence should be well understood. Legal awareness of the issue decides how are you going to stop cyberbullying. Hence, the next time you notice a victim or even an offender, look for solutions on how to stop cyberbullying rather than ignoring and letting things be.



Written By:
Ridhi Khurana

Ridhi Khurana

Gurgaon

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