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WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING? MEANING, EFFECTS, PREVENTIVE MEASURES



What is CYBERBULLYING?

KNOWING IS NOT ENOUGH
By KARTHIK – January 6, 2020



CYBERBULLYING

Cyber Bullying Meaning

Cyber bullying is the harassment or bullying behaviour which someone uses to hurt another mentally executed through digital devices like computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. In this modern digital ecosphere there are numerous platforms where cyber bullying can occur. These are connected ecosphere where people can view and participate in sharing of content like social media, chatrooms, and gaming platforms.
Cyber bullying or Online bullying can be very much damaging and upsetting because it's usually anonymous or hard to trace. Another aspect is that these spread like wildfire and is not just limited to a local area as it is available for the whole world to see. 
These are impossible to control, and the person being victimized has no idea how many people have seen the messages or posts. Since nothing can removed from the internet completely, they are tormented nonstop whenever they check their device or computer.
Online bullying and harassment are easier as everything is at your fingertip. These acts are even worse than bullying in some respects because the bully doesn't have to confront or meet the person. This arrogant behaviour will have a long-lasting physiological impact on the victim.

Cyberbullying generally occurs where there is sharing involved and these include:
  • Social Media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter
  • Message sent through devices
  • Instant Messaging services like WhatsApp, We Chat
  • Online gaming Chatrooms

 

TYPES OF CYBERBULLYING


There are different types of cyberbullying and understanding all these types of cyber bullying is necessary. Knowing all the ways a bully could attack enables parents and young adults to adopt measures to prevent and even report cyber bullying. The following are some of the common types of cyberbullying.
  • Posting hurtful comments about an individual online
  • Spreading humiliating rumours over social media platforms
  • Publishing an embarrassing, nasty or dirty photo or video online
  • Creating a fake webpage about another individual with nasty content
  • Provoking an individual to kill themselves or hurt someone else
  • Threatening someone or issuing online threats
  • content triggering religious belief.
  • Posting hate comments based on racial, ethnic or political differences online
  • Posting private information about another individual
  • Faking an identity online to ask for or post personal or fake information about someone
Doxing is one of the most common form of cyberbullying. It is a practice of researching and publishing personal information about an individual without their knowledge.
One obtains information from the person’s social media accounts and other online profiles or steals the private information. It is then used for blackmail, online harassment, defamation and other forms of cyber bullying.



EFFECTS OF CYBERBULLYING


Sometimes, online bullying, like other kinds of bullying, can lead to serious long-lasting problems. Bullying if allowed to continue or failed to stop it will lead to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health. The stress of being in a constant state of upset or fear can lead to problems with mood, energy level, sleep, and appetite.
The physiological impacts of cyberbullying may lead to varying mental health issues like anger, drugs or substance abuse, and even suicide in extreme cases. If someone is already sad, depressed or anxious, cyberbullying can only make things much worse.
Cyberbullying alone is not the cause of suicide among kids but there are many underlying issues that contribute towards the suicide risk. Mental health issues created as a result of depression, problems at home, medications and trauma history could also contribute to suicide and other extreme behaviours.
This health risk increases when one doesn’t speak on the issues, he/ she faces or not getting support from parents, peers, and schools.
 Schools generally take actions like dismiss or suspend guilty students from school, from sports teams. or other methods prescribed in the school policy. Sometimes the cyberbully may face serious legal trouble if the bully violates school codes or even break anti-discrimination or sexual harassment laws. 



HOW TO PREVENT CYBERBULLYING

Cyberbullying can have drastic outcomes not just the person being bullied but also the bully. The punishment for cyberbullies can be serious if found responsible or guilty. Nowadays more and more schools have various awareness programs and after-school meetings for creating systems to respond to cyberbullying.
Now almost all schools have laws in place to counter bullying as well as cyberbullying. Schools will act either as required by law or according to school policies, these allow them to discipline or take other action.
Creating awareness through classes, talking about what cyberbullying is and how to be safe when surfing online. Educating kids that cyberbullying is unacceptable from an early age will help them carry these values throughout their life. Making sure the kids know how to get help is as important as teaching them about cyberbullying.
Having an open dialogue with students and creating trust through open communication. Listening and checking in with kids often as a friend would help in reducing the barrier. 


KEEP AN EYE OUT

In this digital world, children are growing up with technology at their fingertips and they have limited understanding of the good and the bad. With the rise in social media and other online platforms cyber bullying have become a household occurrence. Teenagers and adolescents are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying and they are also the most vulnerable.
In order to prevent cyberbullying parents should keep an eye out and monitor your child’s online activities. It is the responsibility of the parents to be aware of the threats in order to prevent cyber bullying.
Parents should ensure that you are aware of the apps and social media that the child is using. An addiction to computers, online gaming, and smartphones is common among children and it is important that your child engages more in offline activities. 


IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Keep an eye out and see if your child is acting different than normal, the reasons for the signs could be that your child is being cyber bullied or is cyber bullying others. Watch out if there is considerable increase or decrease in your child’s usage of a mobile, laptop or tablet.
If something in your child’s behaviour seems odd or out of character and these emotional responses like sadness, anger or happiness could be linked to the activities on their device. Monitor your child social media accounts and see if they are showing signs of depression and withdrawal linked with internet usage.
The frequency of internet usage and tendencies like hiding of the device screen when others are close, avoiding discussion on their online activities and non-participation of social activities and gatherings are to taken seriously. 

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE

If you see these warning signs exhibited by your child, it could be due to their involvement in some form of cyber bullying. It is essential that you take all necessary steps to show your support to your child experiencing cyber bullying and in case of the unfortunate event like cyber bullying it is imperative that you report to the authority.
The following are some of the things that you can do in case your child or kin is a victim of cyber bullying.


Warning signs

Look out for warning signs that may point towards problems, such as avoidance of school or other social situations, lost or destroyed personal items and changes in eating habits. However, not all victims of cyberbullying exhibit the same warning signs, they may go to great lengths to hide it. This is where paying attention and looking for signs is most important and try to self-investigate the causes and note if these changes usually take place during the use of digital devices.


Communicate

Engage with your child daily and ask questions that encourage conversation. Don’t try to be demanding but gently engage your child in a conversation without invading their privacy. Having an open dialogue and creating trust through open communication is important in trying to understand what is happening. Listen and check in with your child often as a friend would help in reducing the barrier.


Monitor

Identify the problem is the first step of resolving the issue. Monitor and document events and circumstances with as much detail and see if cyber bullying is happening. Try to maintain a record of the online activities and if possible isolate offensive and harmful content or post as screenshots. In any case, evidence of online activities is mandatory when reporting cyber bullying.


Support

Getting appropriate authorities involved in order to get professional help should be the top priority. Be careful not to give any advice beyond your level of expertise. Dealing with cyber bullying is time consuming and the with the nature of internet stopping it is hard. In such cases, the victim needs support and guidance. It could come from parents, peers, family members or teachers. If required, seek the help of a professional counsellor.


Report

All social media platforms have clear guidelines that regulate most negative activities on their platform and an option to report cyber bullying. Once you report the social media platforms can help you in having the offensive post removed. Social media platforms will review your request and if they find the rules or guidelines are broken. In case your child is receiving sexual or physical threats and if you sense an illegitimate activity or crime underway immediately register a complaint with the police.

To report cyber bullying in India, you can send your complaint to complaint-mwcd@gov.in.



ANTI-CYBER BULLYING LAWS IN INDIA

Cyberbullying is considered a relatively new form of harassment and intimidation and there are no special Anti-Cyber Bullying Laws in India yet. There is no law on cyberbullying or electronic harassment in general that specifically addresses bullying online, if someone is cyberbullied because of race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religion, it may overlap with discriminatory harassment and cyber laws.


Following are some of the cyber laws that cover acts classified as cyber bullying in India.


Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc

Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device, —
(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character;
(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,
(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.


Punishment for identity theft.

Whoever, fraudulently or dishonestly make use of the electronic signature, password or any other unique identification feature of any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine with may extend to rupees one lakh.


Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource. 

Whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource cheats by personating, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees. 


Punishment for violation of privacy.

Whoever intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, under circumstances violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or with both. 
Explanation — For the purposes of this section-
(a) "transmit" means to electronically send a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons;
(b) "capture", with respect to an image, means to videotape, photograph, film or record by any means.


Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form.

(a) publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted material in any electronic form which depicts children engaged in sexually explicit act or conduct; or
(b) creates text or digital images, collects, seeks, browses, downloads, advertises, promotes, exchanges or distributes material in any electronic form depicting children in obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner; orSec.499 IPC – Sending defamatory messages through email.


Defamation.

Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person. 
Explanation — It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives.


 Punishment for defamation.

Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.


Criminal intimidation.

Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.
 Explanation — A threat to injure the reputation of any deceased person in whom the person threatened is interested, is within this section. Illustration A, for the purpose of inducing B to desist from prosecuting a civil suit, threatens to burn B’s house. A is guilty of criminal intimidation.Sec.509 IPC – Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman




SUMMARY

  • Cyber bullying is the harassment or bullying behaviour which someone uses to hurt another mentally executed through digital devices like computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
  • There are different types of cyberbullying and understanding all these types of cyber bullying is necessary.
  • Doxing is one of the most common form of cyberbullying. It is a practice of researching and publishing personal information about an individual without their knowledge.
  • Sometimes, online bullying, like other kinds of bullying, can lead to serious long-lasting problems. Bullying if allowed to continue or failed to stop it will lead to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health.
  • Cyberbullying can have drastic outcomes not just the person being bullied but also the bully. The punishment for cyberbullies can be serious if found responsible or guilty. 
  • Cyberbullying is considered a relatively new form of harassment and intimidation and there are no special Anti-Cyber Bullying Laws in India yet.


WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING? MEANING, EFFECTS, PREVENTIVE MEASURES WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING? MEANING, EFFECTS, PREVENTIVE MEASURES Reviewed by KARTHIK on February 05, 2020 Rating: 5
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