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This article is written by Pooja Bhardwaj.

Introduction

Technology, as we know, is a double-edged sword, where the users are continuously balancing between the risks and opportunities it offers. It is no longer just a cliché: we are all connected, 24/7, no matter where in the world; we are merely one click away from our families, co-workers, classmates, idols, mentors, neighbours, and even strangers. On one side, the Internet has made the world a much smaller place full of opportunities to thrive for people with minimal resources along with bringing awareness to important socio-political movements and acting as a platform for fundraising for many noble causes; on the other side, it has exposed vulnerable people to a deep dark world of web and bullying while sitting safely in the vicinity of their homes. 

Many children are the targets of bullying via the internet or mobile phones resulting in total confusion on the part of the ‘target’. Very often, children are not able to understand that what they are going through is a form of bullying. As a result, the previously safe environment of the internet is now becoming a source of confusion and anxiety. But what is this cyberbullying and how is it different from regular bullying? This paper is going to discuss the details of cyberbullying and its different types and why is it a crime? The paper will also cover the reason behind this crime being still prevalent in our country after having stringent laws regarding the same under Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Information Technology Act, 2000.

Today’s generation is using the internet more than ever. They cite the internet and mobile phones more than that as positive aspects of our society. The mobile phones and the internet are the biggest systems of communication which play an important role in our daily lives and the development of individual identities. On the other hand, the same technologies are also used negatively quite often. Many children are becoming the target of bullying through the internet or mobile phones that are resulting in total confusion concerning the “target”. Generally, children fail to understand that what they are going through and what they are suffering is a form of bullying. As a result of such an atmosphere of negativity, the previously safe environment of the internet is now slowly becoming a source of anxiety and is creating confusion. Therefore, it has become a serious problem to be looked after and this has to be stopped. Also, solutions have to be found out for the same.

Bullying no matter which type it is, but it does put people down. It can take place at any time, anywhere, at school, at college, at work, at home, over the internet, literally. But there is a slight difference in the bullying that happens in front of you and the one that happens in a virtual world i.e. over the internet as there you have limited control and no place to escape, which you have as an option in the bullying happening on your face. 

Cyberbullying happens for any reason, like hatred, jealousy, insecurity or any other reason. It takes place on online platforms in various forms like that of text or email in different ways by either commenting on someone’s post or video on social media in a negative, threatening manner which hurts the sentiments of the person about whom they are written. It can also happen when somebody demeans or writes or posts some mean thing that can be audio/video/posts. Such matters that are posted online come under the subject matter of cyberbullying. There are many such online platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, Wechat, Snapchat, Twitter where such negativity is floated. Cyberbullying usually starts at the age of adolescence when the child comes under the influence of the internet.

It is then when the child fails to understand that what should be said and in which manner should that be conveyed. People confuse it with the right to speech and expression under the Fundamental rights given by the Indian Constitution. It is correct to say that everyone has the right to speak but there is a certain limitation to everything. Similarly, the use of this fundamental right is limited to the extent that you do not harm the dignity of any other person, be it a known person or somebody unknown to you. Every person has a human right to live his or her life with full dignity and how he wants to lead his life, which is also granted by the Indian Constitution as a fundamental right. People often forget to consider the dignity of the other person and end up bullying the person. Although to defend cyber freedom, the right to free speech and expression should be provided widely, but it cannot also be denied that ensuring absolute freedom will amount to the spread of cyberbullying, offensive statements as well as hate speech resulting in bodily injury to any individual.

Therefore before implementing any guidelines for cyberspace, the responsibility of the legislature is to regulate the freedom of virtual users to the degree when it is an actual threat or if it is highly offensive and to unregulated freedom of virtual users to the degree when it is only criticism and not an actual threat. Being the fourth pillar of a nation and a third world likewise, the Social or Digital Media should be preserved in such an effective way that along with ensuring the individual‘s right to expression, the precarious speeches and bullying should certainly be taken care of. Also, where there are no seemingly dangerous and possible coercions towards anyone, the matter should be left for the decision of the Concerned User because ―Report Spam‖ options are nowadays a very easy resort to get rid of the less harmful speeches. Therefore, for such less defamatory speeches, the action should be taken care of by the user itself and the best action one can take is to oppose by speech but that should be proportionate and not extreme. However, the threats causing serious harm to the society or the individual are a different matter which must not be escaped and left for people‘s choice.

It is the responsibility of the legislature and judiciary to remove the unnecessary limitations from this freedom through reforms, but that does not mean that you can express anything whatever you wish without following basic propriety. You possess a fundamental right to give your opinion on any subject matter, but you cannot speak in a vulgar or abusive way as it would harm others badly. Apart from the legislature and judiciary, it is you who has the ultimate responsibility to improve the status of free speech in the virtual world instead of degrading it through abuses, obnoxious and harmful threats, comments and expressions. Ultimately the main vision and mission are to protect the Fundamental Rights and Cyber Democracy.

There are different methods followed by bullies to trouble people with their negative thoughts. Cyberbullying can be done by way of: 

  1. Flaming: when a person uses inappropriate or vulgar terms to hurt someone by either sending messages or by posting material targeting them. This is like trolling but inflaming the messages are sent directly to the person.
  2. Harassing: when a person sends inappropriate, hateful, and hurtful messages online to someone repeatedly to harm the sentiments of the other person.
  3. Outing:  when someone makes the secret and sensitive personal information about someone public without taking permission from such person to harm the reputation of that person is termed an outing. These messages can be pictures, messages or any other information that may be sent online in many personal chats to fulfil the aim of humiliating the victim in public to harm his reputation in the public at large.
  4. Exclusion: this happens with-in person when someone intentionally and publicly excludes a person from a group or party. But it has also started to be used online to target and bully a victim when you do not include the person in the online groups made between friends, colleagues. 
  5. Impersonation: when you act like someone else to damage the reputation by sharing information (real or fabricated) about anyone. This is also coined as Masquerading, it happens when the person bullying someone makes a fake profile for the sole purpose of bullying the person online i.e. cyberbullying. The fake account can be a social media account, email account. In such cases, the bully majorly is someone known to the victim.
  6. Stalking: stalking can happen on online platforms as well by sending messages to the bullied person to scare harm, threatening the person.  It can include monitoring, threats, and is often followed up by offline stalking. It is a criminal offence and can result in probation, jail time or a restraining order.
  7. Trickery: it is an outing with the surplus of deception. Here the person primarily gains the confidence of the person he wants to bully and then when the target shares his sensitive information and his/her secrets with you, then the person with bad intention uses that confidence to abuse the information so collected from the targeted person.
  8. Framing: when someone targets you with accessing your profile i.e. your social media account to post false and inappropriate content with their name. It may cause no harm when done with friends when they are doing it with funny intentions, but it has full potential to be very harmful as soon as the decency fades and the intention to harm adds in the posts. For instance, a person posting racial comments via someone else’s profile to harm the reputation of that person.
  9. Dissing: when someone spreads cruel information about someone they are targeting through public posts or private messages to either harm the reputation of the target or affect his/her relationship with other people. In such situations, the person who is targeting the other person comes out to be known and has some relationship with the target.
  10. Trolling: when someone posts something demeaning the other person whom they are targeting intending to harm their reputation and upset their target. Trolling may not always be cyberbullying but it may be used as a method to cyberbully when the person is commenting with content that contains hatred and harmful to the reputation words. Such people are generally unknowns and are not known to the person they are targeting.
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Laws on cyberbullying- India and around the globe

It would be wrong to say that cyberbullying is rampant only in India. Even countries with stringent laws and regulations like the USA, Singapore and UK are struggling to control cyberbullying. However, unlike in India, people in all these countries consider it important to tackle cyberbullying, especially in case of victims who are school-going children. Schools have also made rules to deal with cyberbullying and also take actions against it. And if such cases come in front along with the school principals, class teachers and counselors also take steps to deal with the cyberbullying and if needed in certain cases the legal authorities also get involved to punish the person found guilty strictly.

There is an interesting debate going on with respect to whether parents can be held liable for their children’s misuse of communication devices. This is an important point to consider, even in the Indian context.

We can say that parents need to understand and also be aware that cyberbullying is a crime not restricted to children of a certain age group, it can happen to them at any age. They should work parallel with their children and also make sure that they are well-informed and they are keeping their children informed and aware. This will help children to understand the seriousness of the crime and will also help them deal with it whenever someone tries to pull them down on social media by their words or gestures i.e. cyberbullying.

Let is discuss the laws from various countries and also look at the Indian law on cyberbullying and discuss the loopholes, if any.

United States of America – The law in the US is different at the state level and the federal level, looking at the state level, we have discussed 3 states – California, Florida and Missouri. Let us see what these states have for cyberbullying and how these laws differentiate from the Federal law. 

California – The State law of California has a punishment of $1000 and jail upto 1 year if anyone is found causing fear to someone’s life through electronic means of communication. It means that the person who has been accused of bullying must have communicated to the target and feared the target for life. Hence, the law does talk about cyberbullying but has to include much more than just life threats, cyberbullying can be anything that damages the reputation of the target in the public at large, it can be any demeaning act of the accused with the intention to humiliate the victim or target.

Florida – In Florida there is a statute by name of – Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act which looks at bullying which happens by use of technology and/or any mode of electronic communication. The provisions of the statute fail to provide a complete definition of cyberbullying and also lacks to give any comprehensive punishment on the crime, it only directs the schools to make rules and report the instances if any.

Missouri – the state laws of Missouri explains cyberbullying as bullying that happens “through the transmission of a communication which includes, but not restricted to a text or a message, sound, or image by means of an electronic device or any electronic mode of communication”. An person who uses the social media platform to bully another person with violent threats, specifically would be charged with harassment, which is a Class A offense, but if the victim of this offense is below the age of 17 the it will become a class D offense, then it will attract harassment initially only and violent threats if not there, will not make a difference. The state of Missouri has defined cyberbullying to a good extent but it shall also include not only the violent threats but other harms to the victim as well. Also, the Punishment shall be made strict if anyone is found guilty for this offence.

Coming to the federal law in the US, there is no federal law to discuss the issue of cyberbullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with the offense of discriminatory harassment which is covered under the federal civil rights laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice. No matter what names you call it by either you call it bullying, hazing or teasing, it is one and the same thing. Schools are under the obligation to address the conduct of the offence- if it is severe, pervasive or persistent.  There is a need for the laws to be made on the federal level as well which covers bullying not only on the basis of religion but also on many other factors like jealousy, hatred, etc. and they should keep the laws strict for the same.

Singapore – The citizens of Singapore who often use the internet have now a new law (anti-harassment) i.e. Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) that protects them from the trolls and other bullying activities that happen on various online communication platforms.

Under the law of POHA, harassment made online, at the workplace, bullying and stalking has now been made illegal. The person who was the target can file a police complaint, file an application under POHA, request criminal charge, or only another request which is a civil remedy which will include prevention of the guilty from causing any future harm to the victim. Civil remedy can also be for striking down the website or removal of the material posted that harmed the victim. And if the accused is found guilty then he shall be charged a fine for $ 5000 and imprisonment of up to 12 months. If a person is a repeat offender, he shall be fined $10000 and imprisonment of up to 2 years.

In Singapore Harassment was already a crime under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act but online harassment is nowhere clearly defined. Hence, people welcomed the way for the statute of POHA as it would give more protection to not only the ordinary citizens but will also include children who use the Internet as a daily part of their life. The law is extended to protection of public sector employees like healthcare workers or railway personnel etc.

United Kingdom – Cyberbullying in itself is not a crime, and there is no specific law on this subject matter in the United Kingdom. A study done in Dublin shows that 14% of children affected by cyberbullying in primary school and 10% in secondary school are. Therefore, if a person commits the offense of cyberbullying then he/she can be held liable under any other statute if the circumstances fall in favor. The following are the provisions that can be attracted depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Protection from Harassment Act 1997- if someone is found harassing the other, that person will be criminally charged if found guilty will be charged for fine along with the imprisonment of 5 years. Also, section 4 of this Act, the person if found guilty of this offense more than twice, he shall be charged greater punishment. But this has nowhere defined cyberbullying or harassment as a tool for cyberbullying. 

Malicious communications Act 1988 – Section 1 of the statute punishes the guilty person for imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or a fine up to £5,000. The offence under this section is of sending indecent and greatly offensive communication matter with the purpose of causing distress and anxiety to the victim. It is close to cyberbullying but it has to be clear with the definitions and the platform of the communication.

Communications Act 2003 – the provision of this statute makes the offense of sending obscene, indecent and offensive messages through any electronic communication a criminal offence, where the person can be charged fine and imprisonment up to 6 months. This can be used as the provision to be used as cyberbullying, but it has to add certain explanations in the definitions of online communication, offensive etc. 

Public order Act 1986 – any word, gesture or video which threatens, insults or abuses and may cause distress to the target will be punishable. And if someone uses a camera and video by mobile phones and that causes harassment will be cyberbullying. This section nowhere relates to what cyber crime actually is, the only thing which is relatable here is the distress caused. 

Cyberbullying in the workplace – Bullying at workplace is an rising issue, especially with respect to cyberbullying. One in five employees have experienced bullying of some kind at their workplace and this can also happen to them online and we need proper laws for the same so that they can be protected and such people can be charged strictly.

Computer misuse Act 1990 – To use any tool to cause cyberbullying if the person hacks the computer or social media account of the victim /target, then he shall be punished under this statute.

India – Laws in India are somewhere like the United Kingdom. Where the laws nowhere define the term cyberbullying in its laws, they just use different laws like Indian penal code and Information Technology Act. Under the Information Technology Act, 2000 the main provision which used to cover the offence of cyberbullying was of section 66 A but it defined everything in a very vague context, no concrete definition for the offence was provided in the section. the section provided a punishment of 3 years of imprisonment and/or fine. But the offence provision being a bailable provision was not taken seriously. The Provision states–

“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; or

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.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, terms “Electronic mail” and “Electronic Mail Message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.”

But in a case of 2015, in the case of Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, the section was held unconstitutional as it was not against the Fundamental Right under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. 

Facts of the case are as follows

In 2012, two girls namely Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan, were arrested by the Mumbai police in 2012 for voicing their dissatisfaction at a bandh named in the wake of death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery. The women posted their opinion in the form of comments on Facebook i.e. a social media platform. Women were released later on and criminal cases against them yet the arrests attracted them were decided to be closed after the public protest. The protest included the violation of fundamental right to free speech and expression and that It shall be held unconstitutional. The crime of cyberbullying was not defined as nowhere the term offensive was explained and the terms used in the provision were very vague. Hence, on the contentions raised in the said case led to the unconstitutionality of the section.

To this Sibal welcomed the Supreme court judgment. However, he gave a warning saying that the provision was not the culprit but the exercise of using the provision was wrong. He advised that caution while saying something online shall still be exercised also restraint shall be put on the same. The administration of the provision is an area where India has to work upon. And now because we don’t have a provision like 66A to punish the wrong doers, we will have to make a new law on cyberbullying with strict liability of fine and/or imprisonment other provisions that were attracted while dealing with the cyber crime that failed to include crime like cyberbullying are- 

Sec. 66C- that deals with identity theft – if any person uses the passwords or signatures or any unique identification, fraudulently or dishonestly, the person shall be punished with imprisonment of 3 years and/or fine of 1 lakh rupees.

Sec. 66D- if any person uses the computer device/resources to cheat any other person by personation shall be punished with imprisonment for a time period which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine up to one lakh rupees.

Sec. 66E- if a person, without prior permission, intentionally publishes the picture of the private part of the body he shall be charged with imprisonment up to 3 years and/or with fine up to 2 lakh rupees.

Sec. 72- any person who is responsible and has the secured access to the electronic record, information, documents and other material in the electronic form shall be punished with the penalty if he discloses the information to any person be it known to the owner of the information or not, such information was disclosed without the consent of the information owner. 

None of the above stated provisions of the state crime of cyberbullying; all these provisions have talked about identity theft, violation of privacy, and obscene material or disclosure of information without knowledge. But none has talked about the harm that words written from behind the screen create on the mind of the person about whom they are written, those mean and disrespectful words also cause harm to the person i.e. the victim here and so it is the duty of the law to protect its people from such harassment and embarrassment publically on the social platform.  This was the scenario of the information Technology act, now let us look into the Indian Penal code and see if they have something in favor of cyberbullying.  

Sec. 419 of Indian Penal Code, 1860— whoever cheats another by personation shall be charged and punished with fine and/or imprisonment up to 3 years.

Sec. 503 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)- it deals with the offense of sending threatening messages via email to harm the reputation of the person, it is different from cyberbullying as it is saying or writing something on the online platform that harms the esteem and reputation of the person.

Sec. 509 of the IPC- if a  person speaks a word, makes sound/gesture or in acts the same with the intent to harm the modesty or reputation of such women shall be punished with fine and/or imprisonment up to 3 years.

In this there are 2 essentials-

  1. Intention; and 
  2. The insult must be caused to the women by any reason mentioned in the provision.

This is similar to the offense of cyberbullying but it still fails to cover it as it does not include the online platform along with that, it also applies to only women, cyberbullying is  a crime that happens to everyone present on the social platform and cannot be restricted to women. Also the provision is bailable, therefore the seriousness of the punishment fades away.

Sec.499 of the IPC deals with the offense of Sending defamatory messages through email-  any person who by words or gesture with the intention to harm the other, with the knowledge of such intention, publishes such words or gesture in visible representation shall be liable for the defamation charge under this section. Section 500 punishes the person who is held guilty for defamation shall be punished imprisonment up to two years and/or with fine.

None of the above mentioned laws deal with cyberbullying specifically. It will depend upon the circumstances of each case to direct the case under the light of the sections to which the case relates.  Those provisions will be attracted as per the case, it may include the defamation, it may not. Defamation is a very broad term, the posts made online about a person may not amount to defamation but it may have bullied the person and must have then caused some costs to him, regarding his reputation though not that grave as defamation, his mental peace and calmness must have been affected.

Therefore in India there is a need for such laws in both the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to include such laws in their statutes that punish the defaulters who commit the crime of cyberbullying. This crime may sound small and petty but it is not. This has been affecting many people at large not only in India but also in the UK and many other places. There are statistical figures to prove that the crime of cyberbullying happens most in India and then there are other countries to follow. The stats will be discussed later. This crime of cyberbullying not only affects the kids, it also affects the adults at large as said by a report in the UK. Similar is the case in India, but as per the authors opinion, it does only affect the kids but people of all ages but because it is the kids who use the internet to the maximum they end up being bullied more than anyone else. 

The crime in our country has not yet stopped, but in the current situation, where the whole world is facing a pandemic situation where a coronavirus outbreak has led to the lockdown in our country. In India, the numbers of cases for domestic violence have recently risen during the period of lockdown, but that is not the only crime happening in the country. There are crimes that are happening online by someone else’s identity or some anonymous identity. The crime that has increased in this lockdown is that of cyberbullying. The national cyber security agency i.e. CERT-In has requested all parents in the country to constantly monitor their child when he/she is using the internet and keep a check on their activities online. During this time, when children have been using the internet for not only entertainment but also for the online classes, it is believed that keeping a check on the online activities of the children will safeguard and protect the children from inappropriate content online as well as cyberbullying. “The Internet is a good resource for kids to prepare school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids and play interactive games. But online access also comes with risks like inappropriate content, cyberbullying and online predators,” the CERT-In said in an advisory.

It is to note that the Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In) is the federal agency in India that helps combat cyber attacks to guard cyberspace within the country.

During this lockdown period people have multiplied their time to be active on social media and spread messages like fire. But are all messages being floated true? The answer is no. There are messages on that platform which have foul information, which includes rumors about a person and that can be assumed by others to be true. One of such incident happened in Coimbatore where a 24 year old was rumored to be a positive case for COVID 19 by 2 young people of his village stating that he has converted himself to Islam 2 months prior to the virus outbreak and that he should get his medical screening.
He refused the screening when asked by the Panchayat as he was not sick, still he was taken for screening where the doctor set him free as there were no symptoms for the virus. Therefore, he lodged an FIR against those young people. Nobody has the right to disturb anyone mentally by spreading fake news about them as it disturbs the mental health of the victim. And they should be punished with serious punishments so that they do not repeat this crime again. This was one of those cases that came in the light, there are so many cases that happen and are not reported for some or the other reason, and reasons can be like being conscious to talk about it, unawareness, ashamed of the mocking made by the public. 

There are so many whatsapp messages that tell a certain person to be a corona positive candidate, without any concrete evidence against him/her. This can lead to a lot of problem to the person who has been alleged to be corona positive, his screening tests even if he says he is not sick, people distancing themselves from him, people making him isolated and making him away from his family, all this will costs him some reputation damage and certain mental distress from all the behavior towards him.

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Facts and statistics- cyberbullying

The author has arranged the data for both the local and the global i.e. India and countries around the globe respectively to illustrate the details and extent of this crime which is growing worldwide. 20,000 parents participated in worldwide research about high-risk online platforms, 65% single out cyberbullying on social media as their biggest fear. Other common threats include text messaging (38%) and chat rooms (34%).

If we look from the parent’s perspective, the Indian parents were confident that their child has experienced cyberbullying once in life, whereas parents in Japan and Russia said that there has been no case of cyberbullying with their child. Similar to India was the response of Americans and across Europe.

As stated above India has reported 37% of parents have reported that their child has experienced cyberbullying. Whereas, there are only 11% cases in Italy which are only 12 in the people who participated in the interview and this analysis.  Russia counted at 0 % and Japan counted 4% with 5 cases in 2018.  

As per the survey done by the Telenor Group, there are many parents who talk to their children on cyberbullying and its precautions and the way to deal with it, there are parents who talk to their children on this subject sometimes, but there are such parents as well who do not talk to their children with respect to cyberbullying at all. According to the survey there are 46% parents who talk to their children with this context on a continuous basis. Whereas 39% talk only sometimes, 12% of parents don’t talk on this subject at all. According to a social media survey by Telenor Group, a lot of parents (46%) speak to their children all the time about online behavior and threats. However, some parents (39%) do it only sometimes, while others (12%) never do it.

Country 

2018

2016

2011

India 

37

32

32

US

26

34

15

Canada

20

17

18

Australia

19 

20

13

Mexico

18

20

8

Great Britain

18

15

11

China

17

20

11

Germany

14

9

7

Argentina

14

10

9

South Korea

13

9

8

Italy 

12

11

3

France

9

7

5

Japan 

5

5

5

Russia

1

9

5

Consequences of cyberbullying

The consequences of cyberbullying can be severe. Amongst other victims i.e. all the people on the social media of all ages, children are the ultimate victims of this crime as they are the ones who are using the internet to its maximum ability. Therefore, such children should be safeguarded from the negative side of the same. These disrespectful, demeaning and hatred or threatening words/audio/video that are posted on such online platforms affects the mental stability, mental peace and mental health of the children. Such children as we can call them victims of cyberbullying react in different ways to this crime when it happens to them.  Some of them committed suicide in the fear of facing the world, some changed their schools and colleges with the similar fear of losing their self-esteem or reputation or there are families who move their residence from one locality to the other or from one city to the other to protect their reputation. There are families who tell their children to not share this news of them being bullied on the online platform or any social media to anyone in public or they don’t even allow their children to report such cases as then the case will come in notice of the public.

An example of an incident which ended as cyberbullying would be of certain friends in school thinking it harmless to share something embarrassing to a fellow classmate. Let me give you such an example below:

After using the boys room, the boy forgot to zip his shorts and another classmate notices it, rather than informing him to reduce his embarrassment, his classmate is making fun of him in front of the whole class by saying it aloud and another cheeky classmate is taking photo of his unzipped shorts and posts it online. Several other classmates are sharing the picture with their friends inside the school.

The above said is an example of how a tiny and small incident of a young boy in school who forgets to zip his trousers would turn out to be exaggerated to such an unimaginable limit. However, this is possible with the various social media platforms that are available these days!

But are parents doing it correct by stopping their child to report the incident or by running away from the problem by changing the school or the place of living? It is not the fault of the parents who think like this. It is the backlog on the end of the legislature which failed to make sure to its citizens that it will protect their children from crime like cyberbullying. 

As said in the stats above there are parents who do not talk to their children regarding this crime and the solutions about the same or the ways in which the children can handle or find a way around with such an offense if they become a victim for the same.

Parents should also counsel their child if he/she has been a victim of the crime of cyberbullying and they should help them come out of the distress and trauma of embarrassment and they should also promote the idea to take action against the person who has committed this offense. 

A recent case of an actress, Anasuya Bhardwaj being cyber bullied was reported where she got certain sleazy comments on her twitter handle and she said that the cyber bullies shall not be ignored and shall be dealt strictly. 

In Kerela, the CM has asked the state government authorities to speed up their work on the issue of cyberbullying and to make such strict laws governing the issue of cyberbullying and character assassination on social media. He further stated that the School protection Groups and student Police Cadets can educate the children involved in cyberbullying, be it the victim or the one bullying the other, and keep a full eye on the cyber related other factors. 

Even celebrities like Cheran have taken a tough step against cyberbullying. People like him who have huge following, when they voice against such issues help to create awareness in the public at large. 

Conclusion 

As we saw in the paper that cyberbullying is a crime which happens when a person writes, speaks, make gestures which contain hatred, jealousy, foul language and demeaning words or gestures through audio or video which has an impact on the reputation of the person and cause him stress and anxiety and may affect the mental peace and stability of the person against whom such words or gestures are directed. The various types of cyberbullying were discussed.

There are laws in Missouri i.e. US that relates to cyberbullying but still needs to make them strict and very clear about the offense. Whereas we have laws of Singapore like the POHA Act where there are laws made specifically for cyberbullying and harassment and the strict criminal liability along with the civil remedies made the statute more protectable. Whereas in India the provision that was protecting cyberbullying i.e. section 66A of IT Act, 2000 was struck down in 2015 in the case of Shreya Singhal vs. UOI. We need laws like those available in Singapore which provide for both civil and criminal liability and is separate law that focuses especially on cyberbullying. The punishment provision shall be made a non-bailable provision as it will increase the fear in the minds of the defaulters, before they think of doing such crime. This was a major backlog in the earlier provisions which should be corrected now. Stats show that India has the most cases of cyberbullying in India where the kids become the major targets of this crime. Even Kerala Government in 2019 took initiative to make laws on cyberbullying and along with this provide education with respect to the same to reduce the number of crimes in our country.

Hence, the suggestion would be the same as said above to ask the legislature to make certain laws, taking idea from the Singapore law on cyber bullying where the law substantiate the crime and defines it properly where there is no vague definition of the terms coined in the definition like online platform of communication, intention and stress and anxiety and other definitions that are found fit by the legislature. Also there shall be regular counseling of the kids in school and at home individually so that kids are aware about what they write and posts, so that they so not commit such offence and they also know how to treat the person who bullies them if ever online. This will give a huge turning point to cyberbullying in India and the cases will be reduced as the punishment will be made stricter along with the administration of the same. 


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