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Business News/ News / India/  Explained: What is cyberbullying and how you can protect your child

Explained: What is cyberbullying and how you can protect your child

For the victims, cyberbullying can be a frightening, harmful, and intrusive experience.

India is the biggest hub for cyberbullying among childrenPremium
India is the biggest hub for cyberbullying among children

In India, the proportion of children who experience cyberbullying (or who have perpetrated it upon others) is close to 85%, which is about double the global average, according to a new study by Cybersecurity company McAfee's report.

Cyberbullying is sometimes discounted as being nothing more than "a few online comments", which can be quickly disregarded. This point of view is problematic. For the victims of cyberbullying, it can be frightening, harmful, intrusive, and very real.

What is cyberbullying?

Bullying that occurs online, such as on computers, tablets, and mobile phones, is referred to as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can happen online through social media, forums, or gaming where users can read, interact with, or exchange content. It can also happen through SMS, Text, and applications. Sending, posting, or disseminating unfavourable, hurtful, or malicious content about someone else is considered cyberbullying. It can also involve disclosing sensitive or private information about another individual in a way that causes embarrassment or humiliation. Cyberbullying occasionally veers into illegal or criminal action.

The following places are where cyberbullying is most frequent:

  • Message-sending apps for tablets and mobile phones
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on)
  • Online message boards, chat rooms, and forums like Reddit
  • Online chatting, direct messaging, and instant messaging
  • Gaming communities online
  • Email

Types of cyberbullying

Even though many of us are aware of cyberbullying or, at least, heard about it, not everyone understands that it may come in various forms. At times, it may happen so subtly that we may not even realise it. Here are a few types of cyberbullying:


By making offensive comments online, a bully who wants to disturb others is engaging in trolling. While trolling may not necessarily be considered a form of cyberbullying, it can be when done with malicious and damaging intent. These bullies typically have little personal connection to their victims and are more disengaged from them.

Cyber Harassment

Harassment is a broad category under which many types of cyberbullying fall into, but it generally refers to a sustained and constant pattern of hurtful or threatening online messages sent with the intention of doing harm to someone.


The act of publicly disclosing private or sensitive information about someone without that person's consent in an effort to embarrass or humiliate them is referred to as outing, also known as doxing. This can include sharing preserved personal conversations in an online private group or disseminating private images or papers of famous people. The victim's lack of permission is crucial.


Trickery, with the addition of deception, is similar to outing. The bully will approach their target in these situations and trick them into thinking they are safe. Once the bully has the target's trust, they exploit it by telling one or more third parties about the victim's secrets and personal information.


When someone is the target of this kind of online bullying, they either post about it or send it to them directly. Similar to trolling, flaming usually involves a more direct attack on the target in an effort to instigate an online altercation.

How to prevent cyberbullying for your child

There are things you and your child can do together to lessen the likelihood that they will be the target of cyberbullying, even though there is no foolproof way to stop it from ever happening.

Insist that your child never tell anyone, not even their best friend, their passwords. Despite the fact that they may have complete trust in that person, it is important to remember that friendships may not always last.

Remind them that not everyone online is who they seem to be. The person behind the account may not be a teenage girl even though the profile photo portrays a young woman. Someone could be gathering data on other teenagers by posing as a young girl.

With your child, go over each account and assist them in adjusting the privacy settings to the highest level of security. This includes locking off accounts, blocking tags, asking others to request permission before sharing one of their photographs, and other measures.

You should also show your child how to behave online. If they are unable to utilise social media and other internet tools appropriately, their privilege to use them may be revoked.

Your child should not reply if they are the victim of cyberbullying. They shouldn't engage a cyberbully in conversation, debate, explanation, or any other form of interaction.

What to do if your child is a victim of cyberbullying?

Your child should be aware of the need to report cyberbullying at all times. This entails not only informing you of the situation but also informing the relevant social media platform, internet service provider, and other parties as needed.

Every police station now has a cyber crime unit that is solely focused on apprehending and prosecuting internet criminals who publish disparaging, compromising, or libellous statements online or hack into your account and steal your identity.

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Updated: 09 Aug 2022, 01:27 PM IST
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