Cyberbullying refers to using the internet as a medium to trigger anxiety, anger, or any emotional discomfort to a person or a group of people with or without revealing the bully’s identity. Therefore, its crucial that we raise an alarm and know how to report cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is one of the biggest villains of the Digital Era. According to a report published by Statista, 38% of people globally see instances of cyberbullying daily.
These developments have resulted in affecting the physical and psychological well-being of people.
In most cases, it has led the victims to a point where they felt taking their lives would be much easier than handling the trauma caused by bullying.
In the digital era, everyone has access to the internet, digital gadgets, and a presence on almost all social media platforms.
This means there are high chances that one may become a victim of cyberbullying.
It has attacked everyone, from commoners to globally recognized artists.
Though Governments and organizations worldwide have taken up measures to control cyberbullying, there are still loopholes in the system.
In other words, we still have a long way to go before we put an end to this.
Bullying: Online Vs. Offline
There is not much difference between bullying that happens online and in-person.
Both of them are targeted to torture the victim physically and psychologically.
When it takes place on a digital medium, the proof is out there and can be used as evidence against the bully.
What do the statistics tell us?
Children and women belong to groups that are highly targeted for cyber-bullying.
According to statistics, 60% of teenagers have experienced some or the other form of cyberbullying.
So, it becomes crucial for us to take necessary steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from cyberbullying
- Establish a friendly environment at home
Anyone can be a victim of cyberbullying. Therefore, it’s our responsibility that we have to be extra careful with our kids.
The first step to do this is making sure that the environment at home is friendly and educating them on how to report cyberbullying and staying safe online.
This would help your kids approach you for help or share instances causing them emotional trauma.
They should be reassured that it was not their fault that they became a victim of cyberbullying. Both of you should work as a unit to find a solid solution to deal with the problem by reporting it.
2. Educate children on precautions and how to report cyberbullying
It’s essential to teach them young on steps to take if they are ever bullied online.
We need to understand that any kind of bullying will have a negative impact on the child’s mental health and kids.
So, you should make sure that you discuss cyberbullying and internet safety.
3. Monitor their online activity
You must understand that there is a fine line between monitoring online activities and invading their privacy.
Children do not like their parents getting involved in everything they do, and they demand privacy.
So, it’s crucial that you have an open discussion about what they usually spend their time on the internet and whether they face any issues.
This way, you encourage them to speak up if they have any issues rather than make them feel that you are invading their right to privacy.
The Faceless bullies
Cyberbullying and online harassment happen daily, and many at times, these faceless bullies torture the victims using fake identities.
They would mercilessly troll, question your personal opinion and negatively comment on anything and everything sitting at the comfort of their anonymity on the internet.
How does it impact mental health?
According to a study conducted by DoSomething.org, only 1 in 10 teens informs their parents about their abuse.
Bullying can negatively impact the victims’ physical and psychological well-being. Above all, there are increased chances that they might develop – anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and worthlessness.
Taking advantage of anonymity, cyberbullies tend to torture the victims at any point of the day or night, which increases the severity of the consequences.
When they don’t know how to deal with the cyberbully, take help or make it stop, the situation tends to get worse.
- Depression and Anxiety:
Cyberbullying can lead to the feeling of depression and anxiety in the victims.
They might feel mentally exhausted as they feel powerless about the situation at hand. This might overshadow their feelings of joy.
2. Sense of Humiliation:
One thing about the internet is that if any information once goes online, it’s out there.
So, when someone is publicly humiliated in the online world, they get troubled by the thought of humiliation.
Primarily because a large section of people might have viewed the post/text/video, which causes a feeling of embarrassment to them and finds methods of isolation.
3. Loss of interest in academics
Children who are bullied may also lose interest in going to school.
They may be absent-minded during class as the thought about being bullied might be lingering in their minds, affecting their academic performance.
Steps to be taken if you are bullied online
If you are being cyberbullied, here are the steps to be taken to keep yourself safe:
It is essential that you report what is happening to one of your trusted sources you think can help you out.
You can approach your parents, extended family, friends, or you can even take the help of a psychological counselor at your school.
If you are uncomfortable sharing your experience with someone close to you, you can always approach cybersecurity helpline numbers and tell your ordeal.
They will always be happy to help you.
2. Collect evidence
You must collect the evidence in the form of screenshots or screen-recording so that you can show it as proof in case of any legal proceedings.
3. Block the user’s account
You must bring this to notice to the social media platform where you were bullied by formally reporting and blocking that user.
You can even share the username of that bully and ask your followers to report that particular individual.
This will help you and your followers be aware and be safe, and the social media platform can also bring such situations under control in the future.
4. Place a formal complaint with the National Cyber Crime reporting portal
You can place a formal complaint about the incident by logging on to the National Cyber Crime reporting portal.
If you have any doubts regarding the procedure on how to report cyberbullying, you can try to reach out to their helpline number – 155260 from 9 AM -6 PM.
How to Report Cyberbullying on social media platforms
Since a large population of people spends most of their time on social media platforms.
There are high chances that they are victimized by cyberbullying by people who are trying to impersonate them, defame them, send hurtful comments and share morphed images.
Therefore, all social media platforms have come up with a solution for you to report the bully. Most importantly, this way they can protect the safety of their consumer community online.
They do this either by removing the bullying content or permanently blocking the bully’s account on their platform.
Here is how you can report bullying on the following social media platforms:
- You can use Facebook’s report links to report the piece of bullying content.
- You can always choose to go to that person’s profile and select Unfriend or the Block option so that they will not contact you further.
- You can report a particular piece of content or the person’s entire profile by clicking on the triple-dot icon on the top right corner of the post and selecting a report.
- Further, you will have to choose how it violated the community guidelines, and then Instagram will look over the issue.
- You can always choose to Unfollow or Block the person so that they will not contact you further.
- Instagram has launched a feature called ‘Restrict’ that will help you to restrict the person’s interaction with your profile without notifying them.
- You can choose to enable this option by going to the person’s profile and clicking on the top-right corner’s triple dot icon.
- You can protect your tweets by opting for ‘protect my tweets’ in the security and privacy settings. This way, Twitter will only allow users approved by you to follow you.
- You can always choose to Unfollow or Block the person so that they will not be able to contact you further.
- Twitter also has a feature called ‘Bystander reporting,’. By selecting this feature now you have the power to make a report on behalf of another person.
- If you feel a specific piece of content shown on YouTube violates the community guidelines, you can report it by clicking on the Flag icon. Then YouTube will take a look into the issue and resolve it for you.
- You can choose to block the contact and thus prevent them from contacting you any further.
In conclusion, the Indian Laws, the 1860 IPC neither defines nor punishes Cyberbullying as a criminal offense.
You can use various provisions under IPC and the IT Act for legal proceedings regarding cyberbullying.
There is still a long way to go to stop cyberbullying completely.
Hence, many people like Shantanu Naidu, DGM at the office of Ratan Tata, and his friends have taken it upon themselves to educate fellow mates about cyberbullying.
They conduct workshops and teach ways to report impersonating profiles, steps to take down morphed images, and how to report cyberbullying accounts through an initiative called the Cyber Aid Army.
You can always reach out to them or any other person you are comfortable sharing it with.