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Catch them early: High time we reined-in cyberbullies

Apeejay School International primary year programme students come together to discuss the various forms of cyber-bullying, its consequences and preventive measures in a workshop on cyber-bullying awareness

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Primary year programme students at Apeejay School International attended a workshop on ‘Cyber-bullying Awareness and Prevention’ on August 23 conducted by school counsellor Deepshikha Patra. Students were given a realistic understanding of bullying. Bullying was explained as unwanted and aggressive behaviour with an intention to cause harm to others. Such behaviour is repeated vigorously and both the bullied and the bully may develop serious long lasting emotional and behavioural troubles.

Students were also made to understand the difference between verbal, physical and cyber-bullying. While verbal bullying included name calling, teasing and threats to cause harm, physical bullying on the other hand included hitting people and or objects.  

Cyber-bullying differs with the other forms of bullying in manner but not much in matter. It includes causing harm to others by sending or posting detrimental material using technological means.

While other forms of bullying are direct, cyber bullying can be direct yet anonymous. The presence of a physical bully is not required in this form of bullying.

Unlike verbal or physical bullying, cyber-bullying tends to be non-verbal and is not limited to any physical location such as a school or playground. It has the potential of a global outreach thanks to the unmatchable speed of the internet. Social media as a result has become the preferred platform of cyber bullies.

Impersonating is the first kind of cyber-bullying, which implies misusing another person’s online identity.  Trickery is another form which includes tricking someone to share their personal information online and misusing it later.

Exclusion is the most common form of cyber-bullying in teenagers. It is intentionally excluding someone from an online group. The final form of cyber-bullying is harassment, which includes embarrassing the target on the Internet using social media or other forms of online communication.

The students were informed in the workshop that cyber bullying is a serious offence that is punishable with minimum five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10 lakhs under the Information Technology Act 2000. The students were also told about the various helpline numbers they could reach out to.

After the workshop, students came together and discussed their awareness about the consequences of cyber-bullying.  They also used the Padlet application and shared their suggestions about educating their friends about cyber-safety.

“Correct utilisation of technology is the need of the hour. The future generation will be able deal, understand and manoeuvre the globe successfully only if they understand and practice it judiciously.”

-Purshottam Dutt Vashist,
Prinicipal, Apeejay School International

Arijit Roy is a trainee correspondent at Apeejay newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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