Hyderabad: Though cyberbullying can impact any individual, children are particularly easy victims because of their limited understanding of cyberthreats.
Cyberbullies target their victims in different disguises such as online games, mobile applications, and most commonly, an anonymous friend on their social media account. Children, being keen to experiment always, are highly vulnerable, police officials said.
In Hyderabad city last year, out of the 428 cases booked for cyber crimes, about 30-40 cases pertained to online harassment and cyber bullying, said an official from Cyber Crimes Hyderabad.
ACP Narmada from the SHE Teams, Hyderabad, said that there are three ways in which they tackle cyber bullying cases that are reported to them, depending on the severity of the crime.
“If it is a minor offence, we warn the accused and let them off. If it is slightly more serious, we book a petty case under Section 70(c) of the Hyderabad City Police Act, and if the crime is more serious, we refer it to either the local police station or the Cyber Crime police, who help the victim and ensure that an FIR is registered. We also assure them that they have our support,” Ms Narmada explained.
In August last year, a special programme was conducted on the Infosys campus on cyber bullying by Commissioner of Police, Rachakonda, Mahesh Bhagwat. It was on ‘She for her’ programme, Mr Bhagwat enlightened them about the laws related to women’s safety. Several campaigns were also conducted on FM Radio and live telecasts on TV. Posters containing cyber crime prevention methods were posted in buses, railway stations, and bus stations.
A majority of the victims who approach the police do not want to pursue an official complaint. “Many just want the police to take down the obscene content, morphed or otherwise, or call and ‘warn’ the accused so that they are left alone. When we receive a complaint, our first focus is to ensure that we delete the fake profile or obscene content. Law enforcement agencies have special access to social media sites like Facebook and we can send them a separate request that goes straight to their headquarters in California. They also help us track IP addresses and nab the accused,” said Chand Basha, Inspector of Social Media/Hacking unit of the CCS, Hyderabad.
City psychiatrists have observed a trend among children who get into mood altering phases after being subjected to cyberbullying. They warn that many such cases go unreported.
“Girls are more vulnerable in cases of virtual bullying as sexual taunts can get very humiliating, especially on an open forum,” said Diana Monteiro, a psychologist....