Cyberbullying is a cybercrime in which the bullying takes place digitally on online platforms like social media, gaming communities, etc where users can view, share content or messages. On these online platforms, some people(attacker) shares negative post, harmful, false content, or personal information, etc. about someone(victim) to humiliate, threatens, degrades, or embarrass that person online. It is a very serious issue because it affects the whole life of a person(victim). Even some people(victims) kill themselves. Cyber bullying is different from the real world bullying, it leaves digital footprints and using these digital footprints we can find the source and stop the bullying or get the proper evidence that helps the victim for justice. Some examples of cyberbullying are:
- Posting embarrassing photos of the targeted victim
- Sending threats via online platforms
- Spreading rumors about the victim by falsifying stuff
- Impersonating someone and sending mean messages to the victim on their behalf
Types of cyberbullying
In the age of the internet, numerous contents are shared or posted by numerous individuals. personal content as well as any negative, mean, or threat content – creates a kind of permanent record of the views they possess, their activities, and their behavior. Based on the nature of cyberbullying, it is broadly classified into the following terms:
- Persistent cyberbullying: This kind of cyberbullying exists all the time based on the fact that social media or messaging platforms are easily accessible to all. A person experiencing cyberbully in this way hardly finds little relief from it due to its permanent nature. The constant bullying puts the the victim on depression.
- Permanent cyberbullying: This kind of cyberbullying takes place online and leaves a permanent digital footprint, which if not reported never gets deleted, thus staying in the online platform forever. A permanent cyberbully post can haunt a victim for a lifetime affecting his future as well as the present.
- Hard to notice: Such type of bullying doesn’t gain much attention. Most people including parents and teachers are not aware of such a kind of cyberbully thereby failing to recognize it. The person bullying the victim gets an added advantage in such a case.
- Cyberstalking: It includes monitoring, making false accusations, threats along offline stalking. It is regarded as a serious form of cyberbullying. It might extend to physical threats to the targeted victim.
- Trickery: It is a kind of cyberbully where the bully gain trust of the victim by promising false security and then the bully takes disadvantage of the trust and leaks private information to the third party.
- Trolling: Here, the bully intentionally posts offensive posts or comments online to harass the victim. The bully generally does not have any personal relationship with the victim but intends to harm the victim mentally.
Effects of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a disgusting crime when it happens with a person(or victim), the victim feels attacked from everywhere. For them, it’s like there is no escape from this. The effects of cyberbullying are long-lasting. It can affect a person personal life in the following ways:
- Mentally: The victim of cyberbully remains in a state of upset, anger, and ashamed of his own self. the victim lives in a constant state of fear and anxiety that can lead to serious problems like depression, mood swings, etc.
- Emotionally: Cyberbullying brings a significant stressor in the lives of people. Even the victim starts blaming himself and loses interest in everything and eventually drys out.
- Low Self-Esteem: When cyberbullying happens the victim feels helpless. It also impacts his/her self-esteem. The victim starts feeling severe dissatisfaction with who they are. Due to which they start doubting their worth and value.
- Suicidal Thoughts and Self-Harming: Victim takes these extreme steps when the cyberbullying feels unbearable to them. Victims who are constantly exposed to cyberbullying start feeling the loss of hope and take extreme steps to get rid of it.
How to identify cyberbullying?
It is not an easy task to identify how and where cyberbullying happens because it usually happens on various platforms which makes it extremely difficult to find the exact roots and track. However, there are some signs that can indicate that he/she might be suffering from cyberbullying. Following are the signs listed below:
- Appearing more lonely or distressed.
- A decline in school or college grades.
- Upset after using the internet or mobile.
- Secretive about their online activities.
- Changes in mood, becoming more withdrawn, anxious, sad, or angry.
Why do teenagers cyberbully others?
Cyberbullying takes place due to many reasons and it looks more appealing because of its anonymous nature. Below are some reasons why teenagers might bully the victims:
- Anonymity: As we know that cyberbullying takes place online so most of the bullies or attackers choose to be anonymous. So that they can hide their real identity due to which the bullies think that they can never be caught and can continue bullying people safely.
- Social pressure: Some bullies think that kind of behavior is normal as their peers encourage them to do so. The bullies don’t get to see the reaction of the victim, therefore they feel their bully act is socially acceptable.
- Not aware of the after-effects: Most of the cyberbullies fail to see the mental pressure or the reaction of the victim, thereby unable to understand the amount of damage done to the victim by them.
How to stop cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is a criminal offense that makes a permanent negative impact on a victim’s mindset so it is very important to stop cyberbullying before it spoils someone’s precious life. Following are the steps we can take to curb this menace:
- Report: Nowadays, almost every social media platforms are well equipped with a feature to report any cyberbullying post or message. They have clear-cut policies about cyberbullying and even provide the feature to remove offensive and hurtful posts from their platforms.
- Support: Elders or peers can play a major role in helping the victim to come out of the trauma of cyberbullying. They can motivate positively the victim to come back to his normal life forgetting the past.
- Notice: Notice your peers and identify if there’s any change in mood or behavior and try to find out the cause. Give full support to the victim and help him in getting the cyberbullying content reported.
- Block the bullies: It is the most important step to stop cyberbully is to block the person or source from where all the bullying is originating. Then take a printout of all the hurtful content and get it reported immediately.
- Tell a trusted person: The victim who is being constantly bullied by the bullies must not hesitate and immediately share this incident with his/her trusted person like parents, teachers, friends, etc so that they can take proper steps to stop this crime on time.
Laws against cyberbullying in India
Below are the Laws against cyberbullying in India.
- Section 67 of the act prescribes punishment for publishing or transmitting vulgar content in digital form for a term which may extend to five years and also a fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.
- Section 507 states that if anyone receives a criminal threat by way of an anonymous communication then the person giving threats shall be punished with imprisonment for up to two years.
- Section 66 E prescribes punishment for violation of privacy. The section states that any person who intentionally violates privacy by sharing, capturing or publishing private pictures of others(victims) shall be punished with to three years jail or a fine of up to three lakhs.