Cyber Bullying is an alarming issue during Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh

Repoter : News Room
Published: 3 August, 2021 2:05 pm
Shohana Islam Sraboni

Shohana Islam Sraboni:

Many people’s social media profile pictures began to change on the second Sunday of May of this year. Chanchal Chowdhury posted photos with his mother on Mother’s Day as well.  Someone made a communal comment on his mother’s photo, seeing that he was enraged. Then he updated his profile photo and added “Chanchal Chowdhury is our brother”, “Your mother is my mother”, “Stop cyber bullying”, and “Let’s protest”.

As used in the context of bullying, cyber bullying refers to an act that takes place on an online platform through electronic communications such as text messages, e-mail, chats, and social networking sites, in which people share negative, harmful, or mean content with the intent of harassing, threatening, humiliating, or embarrassing someone. It is possible that it may devolve into illegal or criminal conduct, which will lead to the sufferer committing suicide. It is a relatively new phenomena to be aware of in the age of the Internet, and one that should be taken into consideration. In order to hurt one another in a malicious, repetitive, and hostile way while also coordinating their actions, individuals or organizations turn to the Internet. Contrary to popular belief, this disease is more prevalent in adults than in children and adolescents. The growing use of social networking sites has resulted in the development of “online bullying,” which has become a global phenomenon that is becoming more common as a social issue. People’s psychological well-being and development would be endangered as a consequence of this incident, as would their ability to learn and adjust in the regular course of events as well.

Bangladesh has a high rate of cyberbullying. According to The Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID)’s survey titled “Cyberbullying against girls and women over social media” on behalf of the ICT Division. This survey shows that the cyberbullying victim’s rate is 80% as well as the percentage of victims in which 64% of the girls in the cities and 33% in the rural area receive sexually explicit videos, messages and photos.

Lack of monitoring and online vigilance incidents continued unabated and went unpunished. Law enforcement agencies’ prejudiced attitude in taking actions over cybercrime issues, accused turning out to be a ruling party man etc. are the reasons behind the increasing rate of cyberbullying. Lack of awareness due to illiteracy of the guardians as they are not aware what kind of effects technology can have on their children.

According to Sec-499 of the Penal Code,1860 if any person defames anyone or harms a person’s reputation or any kind of words which are considered to be disgraceful that person will be penalized under this section. On the other hand, according to section-24 of the Digital Security Act, 2018 if anyone does identity fraud and personation it will be considered as an offence. According to sec-28 of Digital Security Act, 2018 if any person commits this offence, he will be punished with imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or with fine not exceeding taka 10 lacs or with both. A question arises here, why does not cyberbullying decrease even after having so many penalties in the Penal Code and Digital Security Act?

Digital literacy is needed to improve this situation. Cyberbullying can be dealt with in three ways as follows – Awareness, Action, Prevention. By organizing Cyberbullying Awareness seminars in online or educational institutions take this initiative to spread awareness to the students all across the country. It is also necessary to teach them the Safe Use of Internet, Digital Identity Management etc. Not only students but also their parents need to be aware by arranging Digital Parenting seminars. Institutions can arrange awareness seminars for students along with their parents.   Moral decay is one of the most important reasons for bullying. Poor family involvement can cause this. Teachers need to find out abusive or bullying behavior in the students so that they can work upon them. Educational institutions along with the teachers and academic administration need to design behavioral policies for their institutions. It is also needed to teach how to react as reaction matters the most. Moreover, all the fake accounts on social media need to disable.

Cyberbullying may be avoided if parents, teachers, and students work together to develop a strategy that is both collaborative and coordinated. The most effective method to mitigate the consequences of internet abuse is to provide therapy to the victims and their families.

To fight cyberbullying, Bangladesh has taken a number of measures. Recently, a new information and communications technology (ICT) legislation was passed, making it even simpler to identify and punish those who harass others. Not only that, but the government continues to urge victims to seek treatment for mental illnesses. Workshops, seminars, and plays are being staged by a variety of organizations to educate the public against cyberbullying. As the use of the Internet, social media, and mobile phones continues to increase in Bangladesh, cyberbullying is becoming increasingly common.

The government may apply internet protection measures in a variety of ways, including but not limited to jail and monetary fines, among other things. In addition, the Ministry will impose a number of restrictions. When it comes to some situations, there would be no need to appear in court or talk with the authorities.We must all work together to ensure that the internet environment is safe and stable for everyone.

Writer: Student, Department of Law And Human Rights, University Of Asia Pacific.