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Cyber Bullying: A brief Analysis

In a developing nation like India in past two decades there has been seen a rapid growth not only in the Cyber World but also in all other sectors, with latest technologies and high speed internet, India is moving fast forward , but along with the growth in virtual world a significant growth in number of Cyber Crimes in India is also witnessed.

The term internet is not a new term for all . It has been in existence since 1983 . Internet has proved to be both boon and bane for the Indian people . Internet has brought a major technological revolution in the whole India which has completely changed the thinking process and working style of the people.

It has eased the mode of communication with people residing far away from us . It has certainly become an essential part of our everyday lives. It has brought everyone together , each and every information about everyone is available with a single click on Internet. With developing technologies and advancements in our country a new form of crime that is Cyber Crime has also increased in a past few years various forms of cyber crime are for example:
Cyber Bullying, Cyber Stalking, Phishing, Spoofing, Identity Theft, cyber terrorism etc. are some of the Cyber Crimes but still there is a long list behind .

Cyber bullying is that kind of cyber offence where the person make the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person or causing Online threats and sending someone aggressive, or rude texts, tweets, posts, or messages with intent to harm his/ her reputation . So therefore posting someone's personal information, pictures, or videos to hurt or embarrass someone publically is called that an offence of cyber bullying is being committed .

In other words, it's anything that gets posted online and is meant to hurt, harass, or upset someone else.

It is a kind of online communication in which a person or a group of persons destroy the reputation and privacy of a person, which in consequence causes long-lasting traumatizing impact on the mind of that person. It means if a person uses the internet in a wrongful manner which affects the life of a person.

This research article focuses on what did cyber bullying means, as to why it happens, dealing with different types of cyber bullying , and will discuss the cyber bullying laws prevailing in different countries at global level and also dealing with the Indian Legislations such as the Information Technology Act, 2000 & the Indian Penal Code,1860.

Nowadays, when the internet is present in every sector of our lives like in (education, information, shopping, etc), adolescents are fascinated by the opportunities of the new technologies. Youngsters use the internet and mobile phones for easy access to knowledge, for better and wider communication, for social interactions; and all of these can be done at any time or at any place.

However, all these are the benefits of the new technologies but along with this there are some threats for the school and college going students in this virtual world most of the today's generation instead of using internet for some innovative and informative motive they move to wrong directions they try to have access to pornography, doing online bullying , stalking through electronic media etc has increased nowadays.

Young adults can also use the internet and mobile phones for doing wrongful actions which are being prohibited by law which includes sending shameful pictures or messages, threatening someone, spreading rumors about someone , sarcastic comment on physical characteristics of someone with intention to harass him/ her, or using a fake identity or taking revenge.

Such online activities are called cyberbullying which is also defined as "an aggressive act or anti social behavior that is done using electronic means by a group or an individual repeatedly against a victim who cannot easily defend himself/herself".

So therefore it can be said that, cyberbullying is a type of bullying occurring by the use of digital technology . The term cyberbullying can be called by different names such as : cyber bullying, e-bullying, cyber harassment, text bullying, SMS bullying, mobile bullying, digital bullying, internet bullying. In this paper we will use "cyberbullying" to refer to the harassment of the others through new electronic technologies, first of all by the internet and smart phones.[1]

Meaning Of Bullying

The term Cyber bullying was for the first time coined by Bill Belsey, who was a Canadian educator. Cyber bullying means using both information and communication technology beyond the limit with the intention to harm a person's reputation, state of mind, or to humiliate a person. It is an act by which the person being bullied suffers an adverse effect.[2]

Cyber bullying is bullying that takes place through the medium of digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets, I pads laptops etc . Cyber bullying can occur through SMS, Text messages, and on chat rooms , forums, or online games where people can view, participate in, or share contents.

Cyberbullying means sending, posting, or sharing negative thoughts , harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information of someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some of the acts of cyber bullying also include unlawful or criminal behavior.

The most common places where cyber bullying occurs are:
  • On Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, whatssap , v chat, skype etc.
  • On Text messages and messaging apps on mobile or tablet devices
  • Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting over the internet
  • Online forums, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Reddit
  • Email
  • Online gaming communities.[3]
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive and anti social behavior among school aged children who commits cyber bullying with their classmates which involves teasing , embarrassing , making sexually colored remarks to girl child or discloses the private information regarding someone to cause annoyance . This behavior is frequently repeated by the perpetrator .

One student shared that "all bullying hurts, whether in person or through technology, the ultimate output is that bullying in any form is causing emotional damage to the victim "Some of the most common cyber bullying tactics include:
  • Posting rude comments or rumors about someone online that are mean, hurtful, or embarrassing in nature
  • Threatening to hurt someone
  • Posting a mean or hurtful picture or video.
  • Pretending to be someone else online in order to solicit or post personal or false information about someone else.
  • Posting mean or hateful names, comments, or content about any race, religion, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics online.
  • Creating a mean or hurtful webpage about someone.
A few cyber bullying examples are provided here to help you understand what cyber bullying or anti-bullying is.

Cyber bullying may take many different forms across a variety of internet platforms:
  • Humiliating/embarrassing content posted online about the victim of online bullying,
  • Hacking of account
  • Posting vulgar messages
  • Threatening the victim to commit an act of violence
  • Stalking
  • Child pornography or threats of child pornography
  • Doxing, an acronym for "doxing," is a type of online harassment used to exact retribution and to threaten and obliterate people's privacy by making their private information, such as addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, phone numbers, links to social media accounts, and other details, public.
  • Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone verbally, and excluding someone from a group for specific purpose.[4]

Causes Of Cyber Bullying

  • The primary cause of cyberbullying is when a person who commits the offence is completely unknown , in which a person who is bullying can easily target anyone over the internet by hiding his/her original identity.
  • There are various other factors which are responsible for a person to become a cyberbully such as Personality traits are responsible for cyberbullying behavior or anti social behavior.
  • Another primary cause is online shyness or hampering , in which a person bullies others with the motives of causing harm, domination, or taking revenge, or just for fun
  • Other causes are moral disentanglement as the findings imply that, regardless of the contemporaneous victimization status, moral disengagement has an equal impact on bullying perpetration for those who are most engaged.
  • The next one is egotism which means individuals consider social status and authority dominant over their human relations.
  • The last is aggression, which refers to overcoming negativities and failures by force, triggering them to do cyber bullying for satisfaction.[5]

Types Of Cyberbullying

  1. Exclusion
    Exclusion is the deliberate exclusion of someone. Exclusion is a factor in both online bullying and physical bullying scenarios where a victim is targeted. For instance, your child may be left out of message threads or chats with people they both know while other friends are invited or involved in groups or events.
  2. Harassment
    Harassment is a broader term under which includes many types of cyberbullying , but it generally refers to constant pattern of sending hurtful or threatening online messages with the intention of doing harm to someone.
  3. Outing/Doxing
    Basically the term doxing, refers to the act of openly revealing sensitive or personal information about someone without their consent with the objective of embarrassing or humiliating them. This can also extend to spreading of personal pictures or documents of public figures to sharing an individual's saved personal messages in an online private group. The key is the lack of consent from the victim.
  4. Trickery
    Trickery incorporates the element of deception and is comparable to the idea of doxing. In this type of cyberbullying, the bully would develop cordial relationships with the victim in an effort to give them a false sense of security. Once the bully obtains the target's trust, they take advantage of it by disclosing the victim's secrets and personal information to one or more third parties5. Cyberstalking.
  5. Cyberstalking:
    is the recurrent contact and harassment of someone through technology, such as social media, emails, and text messages, making them fear for their safety. Cyberstalking is a type of cyberbullying that is similar to in-person stalking in that it invades the privacy of the target and has the potential to be emotionally damaging.
  6. Fraping
    Frapping is when a bully posts offensive stuff using the name of your child on social media. When friends publish amusing things to each other's profiles, it can be innocent but also extremely dangerous. For instance, a bully posting homophobic or racial remarks through another person's profile to harm that person's reputation.
  7. Masquerading
    Masquerading occurs when a bully creates a false online identity or profile with the intent to bully someone online. This can entail choosing a new identity and set of images to deceive the victim, as well as creating a false email account and social media presence. In these situations, the bully is frequently someone the victim knows well.
  8. Dissing
    Dissing refers to the act of a bully spreading cruel information about their target through public posts or private messages to either ruin their reputation or relationships with other people. In these situations, the bully tends to have a personal relationship with the victim, either as an acquaintance or as a friend.
  9. Trolling
    Trolling is when a bully will seek out to intentionally upset others by posting inflammatory comments online. Trolling may not always be a form of cyberbullying, but it can be used as a tool to cyberbully when done with malicious and harmful intent. These bullies tend to be more detached from their victims, and do not have a personal relationship.
  10. Flaming
    Flaming or roasting is the act of using abusive language or using profanity to publish insults online. This phrase shouldn't be confused with trolling, which refers to the behaviour of someone who stirs up conflict offline or online. Flaming evolved as a result of how Internet forums' anonymity allows users to act more violently.[6]

Psychological Effects Of Cyber-Bullying In Adolescence

Researchers laid down in their research work that being involved in cyber bullying has psychological, emotional and behavioural consequences both on the victims and upon the perpetrators too:
  • Many of the cyber victims feel angry, frustrated, sad and depressive.
  • They also feel fear, confusion, guilt, shame, stress, and anxiety.
  • Researchers who studied the correlation between involvement of the adolescents in cyber bullying and self-esteem found that both victims and perpetrators have lower self-esteem than the adolescents.
  • It creates the feeling of depression, self harm, suicide or sometimes suicidal thoughts also comes into the mind of the victims.
  • In most of the cases it creates high level of social anxiety in the minds of cyber victims.
  • However, cyber bullying can have social effects on victims such as isolation from friends and colleagues.
  • cyber victims faces a higher risk related to school problems for example suspension, copying out at tests, absenteeism, school aggression, lower academic achievement and not feeling safe in school and some other destructive behaviours are developed among such children who becomes the victim of cyber bullying such as alcohol abuse, substance abuse, running away from home.
  • Cyberbullying can effect the physical health of a victim such as causing weight loss or gain, headaches, abdominal pain and sleeping problems.[7]

Indian Laws On Cyber Bullying

Information Technology Act 2000[8] The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Amended in 2008), is an Indian legislation passed by the Government of India for dealing with crimes related to the internet or cyberspace, and punishments for these offences are also provided under rthe same act.

This act describes the cyber offences and punishment for each offence, Cyberbullying is one such offence which causes mental agony in the mind of the victim for life time, they cannot get over it easily, sometimes the effects of such cyber crimes are so much extreme that the victim may commit suicide also.

It is hard to believe that there is no specific law to deal with cyberbullying in India, but it is true. In the Amendment made in 2013 in the act, the offence of cyberstalking was introduced as a criminal offence but cyberbullying has not been yet introduced . Nevertheless, there are certain sections under Chapter XI of the act which may provide remedy for the actions of cyberbullying to some extent:

Section 66 (A):
This section deals with the punishment for the offence of sending objectionable, derogatory, abusive, hurtful messages or material online through the internet on any social media or any other web chat room or platform.

Section 66 (D):
"Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource" 10 If a person deceives, cheats someone through the internet on a social media or any other online platform, that person should be punished for up to 3 years of imprisonment and fine of up to 1 lakh rupees.

Section 66 (E):
This section deals with the punishment for infringement of privacy, if a person violates someone's privacy digitally, using their pictures, sharing information, he is guilty for cyberbullying in a way and that person must be charged with a fine up to 3 lakh rupees or imprisonment for up to 3 years under this section.

Section 67:
This section of the act deals with the punishment for uploading, transferring, circulating offensive, vulgar, indecorous material on the internet / cyberspace, with a fine up to 10 lakh rupees or imprisonment for up to 5 year.

Cyberbullying & Covid-19

  • Youth are spending more time online for school, connecting with peers, and socially interacting with friends
  • Kids are still adjusting to learning and interacting with their peers virtually
  • Many young people may be feeling new and uncertain emotions due to the pandemic, such as anxiety, anger, fear, isolation, or stress
  • This unprecedented period, as well as more time spent online, have the potential to cause an increase in cyber bullying behaviour.[9]

Cyberbullying Laws In Different Countries:

Canada is the only country in the world which is having strictest laws to deal with Cyber bullying . They have a legislation called the "Education Act" which deals with cyber bullying , under which if a person is found guilty of cyberbullying, he/she may be charged a fine of $500 or 6 months of imprisonment or more.

European Countries:
To deal with cyber bullying, online harassment, Masquerading or any other Cybercrime, all European countries have the European Data Protection Legislation.

United Kingdom
 For dealing with Cyber bullying cases, the United Kingdom has the Malicious Communications Act legislation under which, if found a person is involved in cyber bullying, it could lead to burly fine or imprisonment for six months or more. There are other laws like Computer Misuse Act, 1990 and various other legislations for dealing with it.

In USA, the Central Legislation for Cyberbullying crimes is the Magna carta Cyber bullying Prevent Act , though there are different legislations in different states, Hawaii: As per the Law, if a student gets involved in the act of cyber bullying, A sampling of cyber bullying laws around the world he/she may be charged with $100 fine.

As per the H.B. 1259 Act, 989, if a student is found blameable of cyber bullying he may be charged with a $500- or six-months imprisonment.

According to the Grace's Law, the cyber bullies must be charged with a $500 fine, Wrongdoing and one year imprisonment.

North Carolina:
As per the 14-458.1, the cyber bullies are charged with misdemeanour for one year in a major and class two misdemeanour if a minor.[10]

Case Laws On Cyber Bullying

In the case of Sazzadur Rahman v. The State of Assam and Ors[11]. the accused created a fake Facebook profile of a 15-year-old victim. In the fake profile, the accused mentioned the victim's name, uploaded obscene pictures, and posted some derogatory remarks against her, which caused her to be mentally unstable and hampered her academic growth. The trial court rejected the application made by the accused under Section 311 of CrPC.

Thereafter, a petition under section 482 read with sections 401/397 of CrPC was filed before the Gauhati High court for quashing the order of the trial court. The Gauhati High Court, while dismissing the application, held that discretion of the trial Court, which, ex facie, has been exercised judiciously on the basis of relevant materials, cannot be interfered with either in revisional jurisdiction or under Section 482 CrPC.

In the case of Shubham Bansal v. The State (Govt of NCT Delhi) [12] , the accused created a false Facebook account in the name of Nidhi Taneja and included the telephone number of the victim, which caused her annoyance, insult, and harassment and, therefore an FIR was registered against the accused.

The victim further moved another application under Section 173 (8) of CrPC requesting further investigation by the investigating officer on account of which the matter was remanded to the Metropolitan Magistrate for consideration. Thereafter, an application was made by the accused for dropping the proceedings against him under Section 66A of the IT Act and Section 509 of IPC.

The Delhi High court while refusing to entertain the application of the accused, ordered that the investigating officer refrain from submitting his final report till the Magistrate issued directions on the pending application filed by the victim. The honourable court noted that the alternative course available to the investigating officer was to file a report based on the investigation carried out until then, reserving the right to file a supplementary challan/report in response to the pending application made by the victim under Section 173 (8) of CrPC seeking further investigation.

In the case of Jitender Singh Grewal v. The State of West Bengal[13]
The accused created a fake Facebook account of the victim and uploaded her obscene pictures to such fake Facebook account. The accused was charged under the following Sections 354A/354D/500/509/507 of IPC and Section 67A of the IT Act, he filed a bail application. The trial court rejected the bail application of the accused and the Calcutta High court upheld the trial court's decision.

In the case of Prakhar Sharma v. The State of Madhya Pradesh[14]

In addition to posting some filthy remarks and images of the victim that had been downloaded from her original Facebook account, the accused also constructed a phoney Facebook account for the victim. The IT Act's Sections 66(c), 67, and 67(a) were used to bring charges against the defendant. The Madhya Pradesh High Court rejected the accused's request for bail.

In the case of Hareesh v. State of Kerala [15]

The applicant created a fake Facebook profile and posted the morphed obscene pictures of the victim online and also posted her mobile number so that unknown persons contact her and sexually exploit her. Thereafter, an anticipatory bail application was made by the applicant apprehending arrest in respect of offences punishable under Section 354(D) of IPC and Sections 67 and 67E of the IT Act.

The Kerala High court denied the application for anticipatory bail on the ground that materials on record affirmed the involvement of the applicant in the offences and it would not be proper for the court to interfere with the investigation,[16]

Parents, children and administrators can take steps to stop cyber bullying before it starts or becomes worse. Few suggestions are given here to prevent cyber bullying. Discuss the serious issue of cyber bullying with your children before it occurs:
  • It's a duty of parents to tell there children not to disclose any personal information such as name, address, phone number, pictures, e-mail address and password at any cost .Convince your children not to open any messages from people they do not know.
  • Advise your children to come to you if they receive any messages that make them feel uncomfortable, or causes harassment .
  • Whatever circumstances may arise no response should be made to the bullying messages online immediately .
  • Do not delete bullying messages-save them for evidence, or either take the screen shots of such messages.
  • just make Print out of those offending messages.
  • Try to avoid much use of internet by the children at home
  • Computer should be in an open, central location.
  • Monitor your child/children's computer activities.
  • Set up a Google alert on your child's name.
  • Be supportive to your child; you might be the first person they've told
  • It's the duty of the parents to develop a friendly behaviour with your child.
  • Document the situation and keep a detailed record with screenshots and saved texts
  • Parents should teach their children regarding such kind of cybe crimes
Cyber bullying has an impact on every aspect of society. Campaigns, laws, administrative initiatives in schools, and other activities to identify and eliminate cyber bullying are a solid place to start when trying to solve this issue. Promoting the wise use of technology will produce positive outcomes.

Consider banning the bully and formally reporting their behaviour on the social media platform if the bullying is occurring there. Social media firms have a responsibility to protect their users. To demonstrate what has been happening, it can be useful to gather documentation, such as screenshots of social media posts and text conversations.

By enhancing learning flexibility, creativity, and accessibility, technology has been successfully employed to enable impressive, positive, and effective learning as well as to improve the sense of personalised learning.

  1. A Critical Analysis of Cyber Bullying in India-with Special Reference to Bullying in College, International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics Volume 119 No. 17 2018, 1811-1822
  5. Suryansh Kumar Arora, Cyberbullying Laws in India, International Journal of Law Management & Humanities [Vol. 3 Iss 6; 351
  8. Willard, N. (200). Cyber bullying and cyberthreats: Responding to the challenge of online social cruelty, threats, and distress. Champaign, IL, Research Press
  1. Romanian Journal Of Experimental Applied Psychology RJEAP Special Issue - PSIWORLD 2016 Proceedings �, Psychological Effects Of Cyberbullying In Adolescence Theoretical Analysis A*Mioara Boca-Zamfir
  7. Psychologicaleffectsofcyberbullyinginadolescencetheoreticalanalysis.pdf
  8. The Information Technology Act, 2000, No. 21, Acts of Parliament, 2000 (India)
  11. Criminal Petition No. 654 of 2019.
  12. Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 2024 of 2018.
  13. Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 7252 of 2018
  14. MCRC No. 377 of 2018.
  15. Bail Application No. 4858 of 2018.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Shikha Bhatnagar
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