Cyberbullying is any aggressive behavior that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails with an intention to harass someone, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

Why Cyberbullying is Different

Kids who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior.

  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
  • Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

Effects of Cyberbullying

Cell phones and computers themselves are not to blame for cyberbullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities, like connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school, and for entertainment. But these tools can also be used to hurt other people. Whether done in person or through technology, the effects of bullying are similar.

Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying
  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems

Cyberbullying in India

Recent reports show that a worrying number of Indian children are becoming victims as well as perpetrators of cyberbullying.

According to the recently-released Intel Security’s “Teens, Tweens and Technology Study 2015”, 81% of Indian respondents between eight and 16 are active on the social media networks. Of these, 22% have reported being bullied online — the highest in the four countries surveyed (Australia, USA and Singapore being the other three). That’s not all. As many as 52% of Indian children indicated that they had bullied people over the social media — again the highest of the four countries surveyed. A whopping 65% of respondents report witnessing cruel behaviour online.

An eye-opening trend is that half (52%) of India’s youth even access their social media accounts while at school, with tweens (57%) being more connected during school hours than teens (47%). Even though the minimum age to register to on social networking sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tinder, Tumblr, and Vine is 13, 10-12 year olds report higher daily access to than their teen counterparts.

Oversharing of risky information: Despite a majority (80%) of Indian youth being aware that their online activity can affect their identity, 92% have done or posted something risky online. An added fact is that of these, 70% have posted their contact details like email, phone and home address.

Youth are increasingly trusting unknown people in the virtual world, in spite of being aware that it is risky. 53% have met someone in person that they first met online. 63% of youth do not turn off their location or GPS services across apps, leaving their locations visible to strangers.