“It only takes one click to ruin someone’s life”
Bullying seems no longer restricted to the schools, colleges, playgrounds or parks. Cyberbullying, as it is known, can occur anytime and anywhere – via email, texts, phones, and social media websites that’s why it can be harder for parents to spot it. Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and spread in no time. And it can be difficult or even impossible to find the culprit. The consequences of being cyberbullied can are devastating for youngsters. Young victims are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, skip school, lose self-esteem, and develop several health problems. In the Indian context, due to increasing access to technology, inexpensive internet plans the risk of cyberbullying is alarming and its assessment and prevention become even more urgent. The most vulnerable of this population are children and teenagers, who are being lived in cyberspace before they are actually capable of understanding it psychologically. The Global Youth Online Behavior Survey conducted by Microsoft ranked India third in cyberbullying, with 53% of the respondents, mainly children admitting to have experienced online bullying.
There is no specific legislation that provides for the specific cyberbullying laws in India however provisions such as Section 67 of the Information Technology Act deals with cyberbullying in away. Section 67 of the act prescribes punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.
Is Your Child is Cyber Bullying? | What Can Parents Do?
If your child is cyberbullied, print and save screenshots, emails, and texts for evidence. He/she should not react to the bully, but should block and/or delete him/her from their friend’s lists. If your child finds a profile that was created or altered without his/her permission, contact the site to have it taken down. Report cyberbullying to your online service provider and in serious incidents to police as well. Law enforcement in cyberbullying involves: Threats of violence, Child pornography or sexually explicit messages or photos, any photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy, stalking.
Tips for Parents, If Their Child is Cyber Bullying
- Friending or following your kids on social media may help you know if they become the victims of cyberbullying.
- First talk with your kids about cyberbullying, including why they should never bully others, and encourage them to share any incident right away.
- Teach kids not to share anything on their social websites that could hurt or embarrass others or to themselves to avoid retaliation.
- Tell your kids to talk to you if an online message or image makes them feel threatened or hurt.
- Encourage kids to speak up if they see cyberbullying happening to someone else, and not to engage in the bullying by forwarding posts.
- Also report incidents to your child's school. The school can use the information to help with prevention and response strategies.
- Protect your account safe- Never share your passwords, anyone? Sounds familiar? To stop bullying do not give passwords to anyone not even to your closest friends. Always keep your phones and accounts password protected and do not let anybody to snoop through your sensitive information.
- Keep your social profile and interaction safe - Social media presence has become the part and parcel of everybody’s life but while posting and interacting with people on social platforms keep following things in mind -
- Be always mindful of what you post. Being kind to others online will help to keep you safe. Do not share anything that could hurt or embarrass anyone.
- Think about who sees what you post online. Complete strangers? Friends? Friends of friends? Privacy settings let you control who sees what. Your privacy is in your hand choose your privacy settings wisely.
- Do not open emails from sources you do not know and do not download attachments unless you are expecting an attachment from someone.
- Stop downloading free media from downloading software that is not legally approved and therefore, not regulated.