These days cyber bullying is becoming more rampant as people spend most of their time using
technology to keep in touch with the world. There are many different ways in which
cyberbullies can reach their victims, including instant messaging over the Internet, social
networking web sites, text messaging and phone calls to cell phones.
There are different forms
of cyberbullying including harassment, impersonation, and cyberstalking. Like bullying,
cyberbullying is a serious problem which can cause the victim to feel inadequate and overly
self-conscious, along with the possibility of committing suicide due to being cyberbullied.
In other words, it's anything that gets posted online and is meant to hurt, harass, or upset
It is a kind of online communication in which a person or a group of persons destroy the
reputation and privacy of a person, which results in long-lasting traumatizing impact on the
mind of that person. It means if a person uses the internet in a wrongful manner can affect the
life of a person.
Cyberbullies have a wide range of platforms to choose from when trying to harass, shame, hurt,
threaten or intimidate others. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok,
Snapchat and Reddit are only some of the possible options.
Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support
deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm
others. Cyberbullying is different from traditional bullying due to the anonymity that the
Internet provides. Cyberbullies do not have to own their actions due to the anonymity and it is
often outside of the legal reach of schools and school boards since it often happens outside of
These forms include flaming, harassment, denigration, impersonation, outing,
trickery, exclusion, cyberstalking, and cyberthreats. Cyberbullying is more likely than other
forms of bullying to go unreported to parents and administrators. This is because the victim
feels to learn to deal with it themselves and also being afraid that if they tell their parents, their
internet privileges will be reduced or taken away.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are: social media, such as Facebook,
Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, text messaging and messaging apps on mobile or tablet
devices, Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting over the internet, Online
rooms, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Reddit, Email, Online gaming communities.
With the popularity of social media and digital forums, comments, photos, posts, and content
shared by individuals can often be viewed by strangers as well as acquaintances. The content
an individual shares online both their personal content as well as any negative, mean, or hurtful
content that creates a kind of permanent public record of their views, activities, and behaviour.
This public record can be thought of as an online reputation, which may be accessible to
schools, employers, colleges, clubs, and others who may be researching an individual now or
in the future. Cyberbullying can harm the online reputations of everyone involved not just the
person being bullied, but those doing the bullying or participating in it.
It has unique concerns
in that it can be:
Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24
hours a day, so it can be difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.
Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not
reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact
college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.
- Hard to Notice:
Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking
place, it is harder to recognize.
Cyberbullying happens for any reason, like hatred, jealousy, insecurity or any other reason. It
takes place on online platforms in various forms like that of text or email in different ways by
either commenting on someone's post or video on social media in a negative, threatening
manner which hurts the sentiments of the person about whom they are written. It can also
happen when somebody demeans or writes or posts some mean thing that can be
audio/video/posts. Such matters that are posted online come under the subject matter of
It is then when the child fails to understand that what should be said and in which manner
should that be conveyed. People often confuse it with the right to speech and expression under
the Fundamental rights given by the Constitution. It is correct to say that everyone has the right
to speak but there is a certain restriction to everything.
Similarly, the use of this fundamental
right is limited to the extent that you do not harm the dignity of any other person, be it a known
person or somebody unknown to you. Every person has a human right to live his or her life
with full dignity and how he wants to lead his life, which is also granted by the Indian
Constitution as a fundamental right. People often forget to consider the dignity of the other
person and end up bullying the person. Although to defend cyber freedom, the right to free
speech and expression should be provided widely, but it cannot also be denied that ensuring
absolute freedom will amount to the spread of cyberbullying, offensive statements as well as
hate speech resulting in bodily injury to any individual.
Statement of the Problem
Cyberbullying is a new form of bullying that follows students from the hallways of their
schools to the privacy of their homes. Many victims of cyberbullying are bullied from the
moment they wake up and check their cell phone or e-mail, to the time they go to bed and shut
off their computer or cell phone.
The purpose of this comprehensive research paper is to further understand cyberbullying which
continues to occur more frequently as technology becomes more readily accessible by the
masses, especially students; and to explore ways of preventing cyberbullying before it happens,
and intervening after it has occurred.
Nowadays, when the internet is present in every sector of our lives like in (education,
information, shopping, etc), adolescents are fascinated by the opportunities of the new
technologies. Youngsters use the internet and mobile phones for easy access to knowledge, for
better and wider communication, for social interactions; and all of these can be done at any
time or at any place.
However, all these are the benefits of the new technologies but along with this there are some
threats for the school and college going students in this virtual world. Most of the today's
generation instead of using internet for some innovative and informative motive, move to
wrong directions. They try to have access to pornography, doing online bullying, stalking.
These activities have increased nowadays.
Young adults can also use the internet and mobile phones for doing wrongful actions which
are being prohibited by law which cess sending shameful pictures or messages, threatening
someone, spreading rumours about someone, sarcastic comment on physical characteristics of
Such online activities are called cyberbullying which is also defined as "an aggressive act or
anti-social behaviour that is done using electronic means by a group or an individual repeatedly
against a victim who cannot easily defend himself/herself".
So therefore, it can be said that, cyberbullying is a type of bullying occurring by the use of
digital technology. The term cyberbullying can be called by different names such as: cyber
bullying, e-bullying, cyber harassment, text bullying, SMS bullying, mobile bullying, digital
bullying, internet bullying. In this paper we will use "cyberbullying" to refer to the harassment
of the others through new electronic technologies, first of all by the internet and smart phones.
Meaning of cyber bullying:
The term Cyber bullying was for the first time coined by Bill Belsey, who was a Canadian
educator. Cyber bullying means using both information and communication technology
beyond the limit with the intention to harm a person's reputation, state of mind, or to humiliate
a person. It is an act by which the person being bullied suffers an adverse effect.
Cyber bullying is bullying that takes place through the medium of digital devices like cell
phones, computers, and tablets, I- pad laptops etc. Cyber bullying can occur through SMS, Text
messages, and on chat rooms, forums, or online games where people can view, participate in,
or share contents.
It means sending, posting, or sharing negative thoughts, harmful, false, or mean content about
someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information of someone else causing
embarrassment or humiliation. Some of the acts of cyber bullying also include unlawful or
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive and anti-social behaviours among school aged children who
commits cyber bullying with their classmates which involves teasing, embarrassing, making
sexually coloured remarks to girl child or discloses the private information regarding someone
to cause annoyance. This behaviour is frequently repeated by the perpetrator.
Some of the most common cyber bullying tactics include:
Posting rude comments or rumours about someone online that are mean, hurtful, or
embarrassing in nature, threatening to hurt someone, Posting a mean or hurtful picture or video.
Pretending to be someone else online in order to solicit or post personal or false information
about someone else. Posting mean or hateful names, comments, or content about any race,
religion, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics online. Creating a mean or hurtful webpage
Cyber bullying may take many different forms across a variety of internet platforms:
- Humiliating/embarrassing content posted online about the victim of online bullying
- Hacking of account
- Posting vulgar messages
- Threatening the victim to commit an act of violence
- Child pornography or threats of child pornography
- Doxing, an acronym for "doxing," is a type of online harassment used to exact retribution and to threaten and obliterate people's privacy by making their private information, such as addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, phone numbers, links to social media accounts, and other details, public
- Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone verbally, and excluding someone from a group for specific purpose
Causes of Cyber-Bullying:
- The primary cause of cyberbullying is when a person who commits the offense is completely unknown, in which a person who is bullying can easily target anyone over the internet by hiding his/her original identity
- There are various other factors which are responsible for a person to become a cyberbully such as personality traits are responsible for cyberbullying behaviors or anti-social behaviors
- Another primary cause is online shyness or hampering, in which a person bullies others with the motives of causing harm, domination, or taking revenge, or just for fun
- The next one is egotism which means individuals consider social status and authority dominant over their human relations
- The last is aggression, which refers to overcoming negativities and failures by force, triggering them to do cyberbullying for satisfaction
Types of cyber bullying:
Exclusion is the premeditated exclusion of someone. Exclusion is a factor in both online bullying and physical bullying scenarios where a victim is targeted. For instance, your child may be left out of message threads or chats with people they both know while other friends are invited or involved in groups or events.
Harassment is a broader term under which includes many types of cyberbullying, but it generally refers to a constant pattern of sending hurtful or threatening online messages with the intention of doing harm to someone.
Basically, the term doxing refers to the act of openly revealing sensitive or personal information about someone without their consent with the objective of embarrassing or humiliating them. This can also extend to spreading personal pictures or documents of public figures or sharing an individual's saved personal messages in an online private group. The constant lack of consent of the victim.
Trickery incorporates the element of deception and is comparable to the idea of doxing. In this type of cyberbullying, the bully would develop cordial relationships with the victim in an effort to give them a false sense of security. Once the bully obtains the target's trust, they take advantage of it by disclosing the victim's secrets and personal information to one or more parties.
It is the recurrent contact and harassment of someone through technology, such as social media, emails, and text messages, making them fear for their safety. It is a type of cyberbullying that is similar to in-person stalking in that it invades the privacy of the target and has the potential to be emotionally damaging.
Frapping is when a bully posts offensive stuff using the name of the victim on social media. When friends publish amusing things to each other's profiles, it can be innocent but also extremely dangerous. For instance, a bully posting homophobic or racial remarks through another person's profile to harm that person's reputation.
Masquerading occurs when a bully creates a false online identity or profile with the intent to bully someone online. This can entail choosing a new identity and set of images to deceive the victim, as well as creating a false email account and social media presence. In these situations, the bully is frequently someone the victim knows well.
Dissing refers to the act of a bully spreading cruel information about their target through public posts or private messages to either ruin their reputation or relationships with other people. In these situations, the bully tends to have a personal relationship with the victim.
Trolling is when a bully will seek out to intentionally upset others by posting inflammatory comments online. Trolling may not always be a form of cyberbullying, but it can be used as a tool to cyberbully when done with malicious and harmful intent. These bullies tend to be more detached from their victims and do not have a personal relationship.
Flaming or roasting is the act of using abusive language or using profanity to publish insults online.
Nevertheless, there are
certain sections under Chapter XI of the act which may provide remedy for the
cyberbullying to some extent:
Section 66 (A):
Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication
This section deals with the punishment for the offence of sending objectionable,
abusive, hurtful messages or material online through the internet on any social
media or any
other web chat room. It says that:
- any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character or
- any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of
causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation,
enmity, hatred or ill
will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication
- any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of
causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the
origin of such messages, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to
three years and with fine.
Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer source, If a person deceives, cheats someone through the internet on a social media or
any other online
platform, that person should be punished for up to 3 years of imprisonment and
fine of up to 1 lakh rupees.
Section 66(C): Punishment for identity theft
This section deals with the punishment for infringement of privacy, if a person violates
someone's privacy digitally, using their pictures, sharing information, he is guilty for
cyberbullying in a way and that person must be charged with a fine up to 3 lakh rupees or
imprisonment for up to 3 years of imprisonment.
Section 67:Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in
This section of the act deals with the punishment for uploading, transferring,
circulating offensive, vulgar, indecorous material on the internet or cyberspace, with a
fine up to 10 lakh rupees or imprisonment for up to 5 years.
Section 67 A:
Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing
sexually explicit act in electronic form.
This section punishes a person who sends or causes to send or publish any
material containing sexually explicit acts or conduct in electronic media. The punishment includes
imprisonment up to 5 years and a fine of up to 5 lakhs rupees.
Under Indian Penal Code:Section 354D: Stalking
Under this section, a man who monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email
or any other form of electronic communication commits the offence of stalking.
Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also
be liable to fine and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of
either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.Cyberbullying Laws in Different Countries:
Consequences of cyber bullying
Canada is the only country in the world which is having strictest laws to deal with Cyber
bullying. They have a legislation called the "Education Act" which deals with cyber bullying,
under which if a person is found guilty of cyberbullying, he/she may be charged a fine of $500
or 6 months of imprisonment or more.
- European countries:
To deal with cyber bullying, online harassment, Masquerading or any
other Cybercrime, all European countries have the European Data Protection Legislation.
United Kingdom: For dealing with Cyber bullying cases, the United Kingdom has the
Malicious Communications Act legislation under which, if found a person is involved in cyber
bullying, it could lead to burly fine or imprisonment for six months or more.
There are other
laws like Computer Misuse Act, 1990 and various other legislations for dealing with it.
In USA, the Central Legislation for Cyberbullying crimes is the Magna carta Cyber bullying
Prevent Act, though there are different legislations in different states, Hawaii: As per the Law,
if a student gets involved in the act of cyber bullying, A sampling of cyber bullying laws around
the world he or she may be charged with $500 fine. 
The consequences of cyberbullying can be harsh. Amongst other victims i.e., all the people on
the social media of all ages, children are the ultimate victims of this crime as they are the ones
who are using the internet to its maximum ability. Therefore, such children should be
safeguarded from the negative side of the same.
These disrespectful, demeaning and hatred or
threatening words/audio/video that are posted on such online platforms affects the mental
stability, mental peace and mental health of the children. Such children as we can call them
victims of cyberbullying react in different ways to this crime when it happens to them. Some
of them commits suicide in the fear of facing the world, some change their schools and colleges
with the similar fear of losing their self-esteem or reputation or there are families who move
their residence from one locality to the other or from one city to the other to protect their
There are families who tell their children to not share this news of them being
bullied on the online platform or any social media to anyone in public or they don't even allow
their children to report such cases as then the case will come in notice of the public.
Parents, children and administrators can take steps to stop cyber bullying
before it happens or
becomes worse.There are some of suggestive measures that can be adopted:
- It is the duty of parents to tell their children not to disclose any personal information such as name, address, phone numbers, or pictures at any cost.
- Advising children to come up to their parents if they receive any message that makes them uncomfortable.
- Document the situation and keep a detailed record as evidence.
- Should not delete the bullying messages as they can be used as evidence.
- Parents should monitor the use of the internet by their children.
As we saw in the paper that cyberbullying is a crime which happens when a person writes,
speaks, make gestures which contain hatred, jealousy, foul language and demeaning words or
gestures through audio or video which has an impact on the reputation of the person and cause
him stress and anxiety and may affect the mental peace and stability of the person against whom
such words or gestures are directed.
The various types of cyberbullying were discussed.
Cyber bullying has an impact on every aspect of society. Campaigns, laws, administrative
initiatives in schools, and other activities to identify and eliminate cyber bullying are a solid
place to start when trying to solve this issue. Promoting the wise use of technology will produce
We should consider banning the bully and formally reporting their behaviour on the social
media platform if the bullying is occurring there. Social media firms have a responsibility to
protect their users. To demonstrate what has been happening, it can be useful to gather
documentation, such as screenshots of social media posts and text conversation.
Written By: Prerna Mishra
- The Information Technology Act, 2000, No. 21, Acts of Parliament, 2000 (India)
- The Indian Penal Code, 1860
, BBA LLB 3rd Year - New Law College
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