By Bhumica M
REVA University, Bangalore
In the rise of the sedentary lifestyle of people, the importance of the internet and technology has seeped into the main systems of population to both entertain as well as to provide a livelihood. The internet has become a part of the social life of many people regardless of the age and gender disparities. It makes people’s lives much better by connecting people even when they are far away from each other. The Internet has become the most reliable platform to the population seeking opportunities with minimal resources. From fundraising and spreading socio-political awareness to major privacy scandals and security breaches, the proliferation of fake news, cyber-theft, Internet has shown it all to the cyber surfers or the-so-called cybercitizens. One of the major problems that a cybercitizen faces is Cyberbullying. In simple terms, it means one cyber citizen bullying another cyber citizen.
This generation of children and youth are more attached to technology and social media than they are attached to their family. Due to their young age and low maturity level, they are easily manipulated and either exploited or abused. About 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online. 30% have had it happen more than once. Since only 1 in 10 teen victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse , the parents or guardians find it hard to help their children.
The harm that these bullies inflict on the victims can affect them in various forms depending upon the situations the victim faces and how he takes it upon himself. These effects are briefly explained as follows which might have disastrous consequences if unchecked:
- Mentally: Mental effects are quite frequent among the victims who are abused. They tend to spend time alone, feel chronic-depression, have low self esteem and swing towards self- exclusion or isolation. The effects might sound flimsy but other effects are based on the mental effect.
- Emotionally: The victim might feel a sudden change of emotions due to their mental disturbance ranging from being overwhelmed to depressed.
- Physically: A victim has to bear with all the harassment and also has to be in his daily life. He starts feeling that there is no escape to this harassment and starts to feel that the harassment exists everywhere. This affects his mental health which leads to damage in health due to its side effects like lack of sleep, change in diet, along with Psychosomatic symptoms (stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches, other physical complaints with no known medical cause)
- Sexually: A victim who was sexually abused online might commit suicide or self-harm ‘cause they feel like they are exposed to this sensitive issue and that the whole world knows about it.
- Psychologically: The worst psychological impact has been related to being a bully/victim. They have more psychopathological traits and seek more sensations than the others.
- Academically: Due to their mental suffocation, victims might affect themselves in their academics. Their social life on social media affects their academic life in reality and there exists a risk of truancy.
Minors take the social life in social media more seriously than their actual social life around them. When their actions in cyberspace are judged by others or if they are bullied in cyberspace it starts making them feel insecure, judged and self- assasinationated. They feel low about themselves and slowly they are pushed into mental depression and self hate toward them. This gets carried onto their adulthood too.
Everyone must be careful and conscious about whom you accept as a friend on social media. Cyber bullying is common in most states and causes huge harm and cry in the whole legal system but still there is no special legislation to completely overcome cyber bullying in India. Our government is playing a vital role in taking strict actions and managing it at a large level. There are many special provisions mentioned in IPC, CRPC, POCSO and IT Act regarding cyber bullying issues but there is a great need for a special act to be enacted by the Parliament to eradicate this type of social evil. Also the parents must focus and have a look on what their children do on social media and also must have a check on the connections they have on various social media platforms. Once the cyberbullying crime is curbed at the initial stages then the effect would not be much on the individual or children.
For here I conclude by saying that ‘don’t be a Bully and don’t be bullied at any cost.’