What is Cyberbullying and how to stop it?


Gone are the days when we had limited use of cyber i.e., use of the internet. At present we are actually living in a cyber world full of everything that is directly or indirectly connected with the cyber. And most of us are using cyberspace effectively and efficiently to reap the maximum benefit. However, sometimes in using it we become the victim or target of people who are using cyberspace with malicious, or hateful intent. One such act is Cyberbullying, which can affect any individual of any age. So, let’s understand what Cyberbullying is.

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What is Cyberbullying?

Is bullying or harassing someone with the use of digital technologies which can be social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms, mobile phones, etc. It is an act that is done repeatedly with the aim of scaring, angering, or shaming the target.

What are some of the examples of Cyberbullying?

  • spreading lies or rumors about an individual or a group of individuals on social media
  • posting embarrassing photos or videos on social media
  • making fun of another internet or cyber user
  • repeatedly calling someone on a cell phone with malicious intent
  • posting lewd comments on their social media pages or posts
  • sending or posting hurtful, abusive, or threatening images, messages, and videos via messaging platforms
  • impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf or through fake accounts.

The list can go on, so what we have to understand is anything that is done using digital technology to harm someone can be classified as Cyberbullying.

Note: Cyberbullying will always leave a digital footprint – evidence that can be used for taking the action against the attacker or assailant and to help stop the digital abuse.

How does Cyberbullying affect us?

Cyberbullying can have an adverse and long-lasting impact on our health if not dealt with confidently and timely. It can impact us mentally, emotionally, and physically.

A cyberbullying victim may undergo different emotions like embarrassment, dejection, anger, loneliness, tiredness, etc. The victim of cyberbullying will void public presence, void contact with friends and family, and in extreme cases may take their own lives.

Who can be the victim of cyberbullying?

Anybody can be harassed or threatened using digital technology like social media, messaging platforms, etc.

Children using digital technology are the most vulnerable of the lot. Hence, they should be educated about what cyberbullying is, how to prevent being a victim of it, and how to deal with it.

How to avoid or prevent from being Cyberbullying?

There are a few things we can do to avoid cyberbullying, for example

  1. When on social media, avoid accepting friend requests from the unknown. A person with malicious intent will prefer to have a fake account.
  2. Avoid or if possible, stop installing unwanted software or applications on your computing devices.
  3. Avoid pirated operating systems or software as they may have malware, virus, etc.
  4. Use a web camera privacy cover to protect your privacy. Always cover your webcam when not in use.
  5. Do not open any e-mail which you were not accepting or suspicious about, and never click on any link or attachment in the suspicious e-mail. This could be a phishing e-mail.
  6. Avoid using public wi-fi services. There are no free lunches in this world.
  7. Always have a reputed Antivirus on your desktop or laptop.
  8. Always have the latest patches installed on your desktop or laptop.
  9. Try to keep yourself well informed about the latest cybercrimes, and also share with your family and friends.
  10. Parents and Schools can explore Parental control features and software.

Please note Prevention Is Better Than Cure.

What should children do when they become victims of cyberbullying?

In case children think they are being bullied online they should

  • log off or leave the platform immediately.
  • take the screenshots or save the emails for future use.
  • talk to the parents and tell them everything about the incident

Children should remember keeping quiet about cyberbullying or cybercrime will not solve any problem, in fact, it gives more strength and confidence to cybercriminals.

How Schools can fight against Cyberbullying?

The first step that can be taken by the school is to make the students and school staff aware of the cybercrimes. Every student and school staff should be given formal awareness and training on cyber security.

Another step could include forming a small team to deal with cybercrimes, who is equipped to give counseling to the victim which could be a school student or staff.

If required seek professional support from trained and experienced institutions.

Parents’ role in dealing with Cyberbullying?

Parents can play a vital role in dealing with cyberbullying. We should always keep an eye on the children’s actions and notice the change in children’s behavior and routine.

In case they come to know that their child is a victim of any kind of cybercrime, they should discuss it with them without any prejudice. They should deal with the incident with confidence.

If required seek professional support from trained and experienced institutions.

Government’s role in dealing with Cyberbullying?

The government has taken many initiatives to prevent cyberbullying and deal with it. There are many laws and regulations to support the victims and punish the offenders.

  • CHILDLINE 1098 is India’s first 24-hour, free, emergency toll-free phone service for children.
  • Cybercrime Portal: https://cybercrime.gov.in/
  • The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights: https://www.ncpcr.gov.in/
    • https://www.ncpcr.gov.in/pocso/public/: A short animated video for children.
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