"Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke." - Benjamin Disraeli
Cyberbullying refers to the bullying or harassment on media platforms. It is the
misuse of technology to harass, humiliate, threaten, embarrass or target any
person. Online threats, aggression, rude and vulgar messages, threatening to
post such photographs or videos or messages as to embarrass or hurt the
reputation, character and feelings of some person is known as cyberbullying.
refers to the bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place
on any social platforms including social media, messaging platforms, emails,
online forums and even on gaming platforms. This behaviour is aimed at scaring,
embarrassing, enraging or shaming those who are made targets.
Some examples of cyber-bullying are:
- Spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos or videos of someone
on social media
- Sending hurtful, abusive or threatening messages, images or videos via
- Impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their
behalf or through fake accounts.1.
Impact of Cyberbullying
Like face to face bullying, cyberbullying also has detrimental effects on the
victims. Cyberbullying tends to lower down the morale of the victims; it makes
them emotionally and mentally weak. A number of victims tend to go into
depression as a result of severe cyberbullying and many also commit suicide.
Sometimes the perpetrator(s) might threaten the victims to upload illicit
photographs or even morph their photographs and videos in such a way that it
spoils the reputation and character of the victims. Many victims, out of the
fear of loss of reputation or character assassination, take dire steps such as
Not only that, children who are victims of cyberbullying can have a lifetime
impact on their mind and go through anxiety, depression, loneliness, sadness and
other mental illnesses. They can also face loss of interest in activities and
loss of attention which can lead to a downfall in their grades. Many victims
tend to start smoking, drinking alcohol and even become drug addicts as a means
to evade the trauma of cyberbullying.
Laws against cyberbullying in India
There are no specific laws in India which provide protection against
cyberbullying. However, the provision of Section 67 of the Information
Technology Act deals with cyberbullying to some extent. Section 67 of the IT Act
prescribes punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in
electronic form for five years and also with fine which may extend upto Rs. 10
Following are some other provisions of the cyber-bullying laws in India:
Section 507 of the Indian Penal Code: This section of IPC provides that if anyone receives criminal intimidation
through anonymous communication then the person giving threats shall be
punished with imprisonment which may extend upto two years.
Section 66 E of IT Act: This section of the IT Act provides for punishment for violation of privacy.
It states that any person who intentionally violates the privacy by
transmitting, capturing or publishing private pictures of anyone shall be
punished with imprisonment which may extend upto three years or with
fine which may extend upto Rs. 3 Lac.
Cyberbullying is a heinous crime and perpetrators of this crime deserve stricter
punishment. There is a dire need for specific laws related to cyberbullying.
There is also a need to ensure that victims of cyberbullying can lead a normal
and healthy life. It needs to be ensured that victims received psychological,
emotional and mental help in order to come out of the trauma from bullying.
Also, education regarding this heinous crime and ways to prevent and to
safeguard oneself from cyberbullying needs to be imparted in educational
institutions as young children are more prone to cyber-bullying. Further, even
parents need to ensure that their children do not misuse technology and internet
and need to keep a check on the usage of electronic devices.
Lastly, one needs to be aware enough to understand the consequences of using too
much social media and other such platforms. One needs to take all precautions
and use technology with care and caution.
Written By: Akshita Tandon
- Cyberbullying: What is it and how to stop it, https://www.unicef.org/end-violence/how-to-stop-cyberbullying,
(Visited on 02 September, 2022).
- 4th Year Law Student, University
Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh