More than 900 complaints of Cyber Harassment received from 257 Indian cities in 2021

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The latest report by Cyber Bullying Action Awareness Prevention (CyberBAAP) revealed that cyber harassment cases have surged post-pandemic. It claimed to have received over 900 complaints from across 257 Indian cities last year.

The majority of the complaints arose from trolling, followed by sextortion. The Founder of CyberBAAP, Nirali Bhatia, recently took to asynchronous social audio platform Swell to further explain details about cyberbullying and how victims can combat the same on a day-to-day basis.

Ways to differentiate between trivia, casualties or a meme from cyberbullying Nirali explained that simply using an electronic medium to either embarrass, harass or threaten the other person, counts under cyberbullying. Online bullying is also referred to as cyberbullying. However, the nature of harassment varies from commenting, cyberstalking, online trolling, and may even lead to flaming. It could be even posting rude, offensive, or suggestive comments. She advises people to be extra careful while they’re in this virtual space.

The pandemic has seen a significant increase in cyberbullying cases in India, especially involving women. The National Crime Records Bureau figures show a 36 per cent increase in cyberstalking and cyberbullying cases in India post the pandemic. Research shows that women, girls, and people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA+) community who access digital spaces face a disproportionate range of abuse from trolling to threatening or harassing phone calls, a Hindustan Times report added

Identification and screen-time management

“Understanding and identifying productive screen usage versus entertainment screen-time can help users in planning their screen time much better”, Nirali said.

She further explained that segregating the two spaces for work, creativity, innovations, and entertainment helps in understanding cyberspace better. Talking further about the symptoms of cyberbullying, she added “sudden behavioral changes, being extremely emotional, changes in the sleep pattern, overall changes in food patterns are some of the signs that one needs to look after. Another very important reason for managing screen time is its emotionally triggering nature. The content on the internet is multimedia content and it is directly going to impact one’s emotions.”

Nirali further advised parents to understand and foresee the ill effects of a certain technology, app, or device. As a parent, it’s important to be aware of what’s happening in the digital world. This necessarily doesn’t mean being tech-savvy; rather, one just needs to be aware in terms of knowing the kind of apps, games, or sites their children are using.

She also recommended building trust in their child and always having a channel for open communication, where they can openly share their new age mistakes. Nirali states that to reduce dependency, it’s important to identify needs from wants, which is the only way out to have control over the dependency before it overpowers. It is differentiating productive usage from leisure time.

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