Beware of Cyber Bullying!
Cyber bullying, also known as cyber harassment is a form of bullying using electronic means like computers, laptops, smart phones, and tablets. Cyber bullying can also be described as online bullying. Due to the expansion of digital sphere and technology, it has advanced and become increasingly common in all age groups, especially children and teenagers.
The platforms where cyber bullying normally occurs are social media, chat rooms, and various gaming platforms, as people can view and participate in the sharing of content. In fact, we are not at all surprised to know that targets of cyber bullying also experience unique consequences and negative feelings like anxiety, fear, depression, low self-esteem, & struggle academically.
With increasing availability of affordable data and presence of social media, cyber bullying in India has witnessed an alarming rise. Parents need to be aware of the different types of cyber bullying in order to report and adopt measures to prevent cyber bullying. We have complied few common types of cyber bullying-
- Posting humiliating comments about an individual online
- Publishing an embarrassing photo or video
- Creating a fake web page about another individual
- Issuing online threats, and provoking an individual to hurt themselves or someone else
- Triggering religious, or political criticism online by posting hate content
- Faking an identity online to ask for personal information
In this digital era, our children are growing up with technology at their fingertips.parent Since they have limited understanding of the good and the bad, cyber bullying has become a household occurrence. As a , it is your responsibility to be informed about your child’s online activities in order to prevent cyber bullying.
Watch out for the warning Signs-
- Usage pattern of your child’s mobile, laptop or tablet (increased or decreased)
- Display of emotional responses like anger or happiness to the digital activities
- Tendency to avoid discussion on online activities with anyone
- Hiding of the gadget screen when parents are nearby
- Showing indifference to social gatherings or similar activities
- Sudden deactivation of their social media accounts
- Becoming depressed and withdrawn from outside world
We suggest following steps can be taken in case your child is a victim of cyber bullying-
- Observation – Try to self-investigate & notice if there is any abnormal change during the use of digital devices
- Converse– Engage your child in a healthy conversation and try to understand the situation.
- Record- Maintain a record of your child’s online activities, as evidence of such online activities is mandatory when reporting cyber bullying.
- Report- Immediately register a complaint with the police or social media platforms for removing the offensive post.
- Support- The support and guidance should come from parents, peers, family members or teachers. If required, seek the help of a counselor.
It is essential as parent/guardian that you take prompt steps, show support & report about cyber bullying. In India various cyber laws have been formulated to cover the crime of cyber bullying, like Section 66 A, 66 C, 66 D, 509 IPC, 72 etc that deals with ending offensive messages through communication service, Identity Theft, Cheating by personation by using the computer resource etc.