Cyber bullying is a form of bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Examples of cyber bullying include mean text messages or emails, rumours sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
A month ago, CHILDLINE Trivandrum received information about a 14 years old girl named Ganga (Given Name) from Shadow Police squad. The information was about a pornographic clip of the child being spread through the Whatsapp network. The clip featured the girl committing a sexual act with a man (19 year old neighbour). The girl was in school uniform and the face was clearly visible as well; so also the identity of the child. It is evident that the video was recorded and purposefully circulated online by the abuser. The child suffered from severe trauma after knowing of such a malicious deed. After various counselling sessions and emotional therapy, she was brought back to a healthy state.
Be Aware of What Your Children are Doing Online
Talk with your kids about cyber bullying and other online issues regularly.
1. Know the sites your children visit and their online activities.
2. Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behaviour, but do not rely solely on these tools.
3. Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
4. Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
5. Ask to “friend” or “follow” them on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
6. Encourage them to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyber bullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Reporting Cyber Bullying
When cyber bullying involves these activities it is considered a crime and should be reported to law enforcement:
1. Threats of violence
2. Child pornography or sending sexually explicit messages or photos
3. Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
4. Stalking and hate crimes
Such a perpetrator can be booked under provisions of Indian Penal Code, besides sections of the Information Technology Act relating to violation of privacy and publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form.
Think Twice Before You ‘Share’!!!
When we thoughtlessly ‘share’ certain derogatory posts, we are contributing to the cyber bullying. We need to understand how this evil has the potential to thrash self-esteems, lead to the emergence of a generation of hollow souls; to destroy lives. Let's vow to put an end to this menace. Let's start by ignoring those posts which come from no legitimate source, then we stop reading or sharing anything that defames anyone (irrespective of our love or hatred for the person), and then we take action against those who indulge in cyber bullying. If we see someone being victimized, we talk to the person, offer our support. Publicly even take up issues of the victims for them to realize that there’s someone standing by them.
We may not know how to solve the problem. But what we need to realize is that a very dangerous trend is on the rise and acknowledging the existence of this issue will be the first step towards reaching a solution.