What are cyber-bullying laws in India?

What are cyber-bullying laws in India?

Date : 06 Sep, 2019

Post By Bhupender Tanwar

What is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber bullying is a term that is used to define the harassment or bullying that is carried out via digital devices like computers, laptops, smartphones etc. The different platforms where cyber bullying can take place including social media, chat rooms, gaming platforms or other social media websites where people can view and participate in the sharing of content, opinions and information.

Cyber bullying involves various kinds of offences such as causing humiliation through hateful comments on online platforms, or through SMS or messaging. It comprises posting, sending or sharing negative, nasty, or fabricated information about another individual for causing humiliation and character assassination and mental agony.

Different Types of Cyber Bullying

Just like social media, the forms and nature of cyberbullying is also a diverse and widespread sphere. Thus to enable parents and young adults to report cyberbullying and adopt measures to prevent cyber bullying, it is important to know the various types of cyber bullying. These include

1) Posting hurtful, or humiliating rumours or comments about an individual online

2) Publishing an embarrassing or nude/inappropriate photo or video

3) Creating a fake or inappropriate webpage about another individual

4) Issuing online threats provoking an individual to kill themselves or hurt someone else

5) Triggering religious, racial, ethnic or political hate online by posting hate comments or videos

6) Faking an identity online with an intention to deceive or extract information

Cyber Bullying in India

With the increasing availability of data services and social media presence, cyber bullying in India has witnessed a sudden rise. Students, as well as other individuals across the nation, become a victim of horrendous cyber bullying cases.

In November 2017, an MBBS student in Kerala jumped off from the highest point of her college buildings. An analysis of her Facebook profile showed her displeasure over the inappropriate comments made by one of her peers. Police suspect that cyber bullying provoked her to take this extreme step.

In February 2017, A student-led online political campaign fell prey to cyber bullying where a 20-year-old student from Lady Shri Ram College was trolled and abused extensively on social media platforms. 

Anti-Cyber Bullying Laws in India

Though cyber bullying in India has claimed more innocent lives than in any other Asian country however, it is shocking that there are no special Anti-Cyber Bullying Laws in India yet. Various provisions of the preexisting rules, regulations and acts cover the various forms of cyber bullying. These include some key provisions of the Information Technology Act such as 

Sec.66A that deals with sending offensive messages through communication service, etc

Sec.66C that deals with Identity Theft

Sec.66D that deals with Cheating by personation by using the computer resource

Sec.66E that deals with Violation of privacy

Sec.67B that deals with Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in any sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form

Sec.72 that deals with Breach of confidentiality and privacy

Sec.503 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deals with Sending threatening messages through email

Sec.509 of the IPC that deals with Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman

Sec.499 of the IPC that deals with Sending defamatory messages through email

Sec .500 of the IPC that deals with Email Abuse

How to deal and prevent Cyber Bullying

In this digital era, where a child is surrounded by various digital and online platforms, cyber bullying has become omnipresent. Therefore it is very important to deal with and prevent cyber bullying around you.

As parents, one must be aware of the apps and digital media platforms that the child is using. Special care shall also be given to warning signs of initial cyber bullying thus looking out for a sudden and considerable increase or decrease in your child’s usage of a mobile, laptop or tablet, display of emotional responses such as sadness, anger or happiness to the activities on their device, hiding of the device screen when others are close by.

If you observe these warning signs, you must converse with your child, record his/her online activities report the incident to the relevant authorities and support your child through the journey of overcoming cyber bullying.

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