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Combatting Cyber bullying: A Global Concern!

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It's crucial to report bullying, support victims, and speak up against it to create a safer internet environment.

By: Er Aausyf Ibn Farooq

Cyber bullying is a serious and growing problem affecting many children and adults worldwide. According to a report by Comparitech, India has the highest percentage of parents who reported that their child has been a victim of cyberbullying, with 37% in 2018. This is an increase from 32% in 2011 and 2016. The report also found that Indian parents were more likely to say that their child has been cyberbullied by a stranger (46%) or someone they know (48%) than the global average (17% and 21%, respectively).

People who use digital devices to communicate, learn, and have fun are often victims of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying uses modern tools-in social media, chat services, gaming platforms, and mobile devices, it can happen. The act of intimidating, threatening, or coercing someone online through the use of social media, email, text messages, blog posts, or other digital or electronic methods. This is an act of bullying utilizing technology to intimidate or hurt someone else. Internet, mobile devices, or cameras, for instance, could be used in cyberbullying.

Online bullying is another name for cyberbullying and cyberharassment. Some examples of cyberbullying include spreading lies, sending hurtful messages, impersonating someone, sharing personal information, exclusion from online groups, and making fun of someone’s appearance, identity, abilities, beliefs, or interests on social media, causing humiliation.

Some of the common types of cyberbullying reported in India include spreading false rumours, being excluded from chats or groups, and name-calling. Cyber bullying can cause emotional distress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and even suicidal thoughts. It can also lead to legal consequences for the perpetrators, as cyber bullying is a punishable offence under the Information Technology Act, of 2000.

Cyber bullying is a serious issue that can have severe consequences. It’s crucial to be respectful and kind, report bullying, support victims, and speak up against it to create a safer internet environment.

Taking Action against Cyber bullying

The Indian government and various organizations have taken steps to raise awareness and prevent cyberbullying. For example, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched a portal called Cyber Surakshit Bharat in 2018 to provide information and resources on cyber safety. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also issued guidelines for schools to deal with cyber bullying in 2020. Additionally, some NGOs and activists have initiated campaigns and programs to educate children and parents about cyber bullying and how to cope with it.

Cyber bullying is not limited to India; it’s a global concern. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2022, nearly half of U.S. teens (46%) have experienced at least one of six cyber bullying behaviors online or on their cellphone. The most common behaviour was name-calling (32%), followed by spreading false rumours (22%), receiving explicit images they didn’t ask for (17%), physical threats (10%), and having explicit images of them shared without their consent (7%). A similar survey by Ipsos in 2018 found that India had the highest percentage of parents who reported that their child had been cyberbullied (37%), followed by Brazil (29%), the United States (26%), and Belgium (25%). The lowest percentages were reported by Russia (4%) and Japan (5%).

Cyber bullying can have severe consequences, both mentally and physically. Therefore, it is essential to take precautions and prevent cyber bullying from happening or escalating. Some of the precautions include being respectful and kind online, protecting your privacy, blocking and reporting cyberbullies, and seeking help and support.

Measures taken to ensure safety:

It is crucial to implement specific safety measures to combat cyberbullying:

Education and Awareness: Launch educational campaigns in schools and communities to raise awareness about the consequences of cyberbullying and the importance of online etiquette and empathy.

Secure Online Spaces: Encourage social media platforms and online forums to implement stricter reporting mechanisms and moderation policies. Swift action against hate speech and harassment is essential.

Community Engagement: Promote dialogue and understanding among different communities in Kashmir. Encourage online and offline discussions that aim to build bridges and reduce tensions.

Mental Health Support: Establish accessible mental health services and hotlines to help individuals cope with the emotional toll of cyberbullying and online harassment.

Government Initiatives: The government should work towards creating robust cyber laws that address cyberbullying specifically. Law enforcement agencies should be trained to handle cyberbullying cases effectively.

To wind it up, cyberbullying is a complex and evolving issue that requires collective action from all stakeholders, including the government, internet service providers, social media platforms, schools, parents, and children themselves. By creating a culture of respect, empathy, and responsibility online, we can reduce the incidence and impact of cyberbullying not only in Kashmir but across the world.

The writer is an Engineer and Educator.  [email protected]

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