In today’s era internet is a part of our life that has connected us with the whole world. Through the internet/social media we came to know what is going around us and all over the world. During a pandemic, the internet is a classroom for students, an office for employees and also a tool of earning like network marketing, social media marketing so on and so forth. Social media is a tool of communication, a tool of gaining knowledge from different pages or groups but also a tool of crime. It has opened a new platform for criminals to harass, loot and intimidate other social media users. Bullying is not a new word to us and also how it impacts the victim’s personality, image and so on. Bullying means the behaviour of a person who hurts or frightens someone smaller or less powerful, often forcing that person to do something they don’t want to do. Bullying and stalking are the forms of crimes sometimes we consider these two the same thing but stalking is separately defined as the act of the following someone very closely and watching its every move. And illegally following someone over a while and intimidating or forcing someone to do anything is a crime. The rapidly Growing of the internet and usage of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter opens a window for criminals to misuse these platforms for their wrongful gain. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram is a most used social media platform amongst adults around 80% plus of the total adult population use these social media platforms. Usage of Social media is becoming a daily routine for us we are wholly and solely dependent on it whether it’s our university/college work or office work. Social media connects us with the whole world and has also overcome our stress by funny videos which the content creators upload on their page or group. But social media has a lot of demerits as I highlight above the traditional bullying or stalking. In the world of the internet or social media cyberbullying or cyberstalking has created havoc Cyberbullying threats among social media users. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying but different from traditional bullying as it takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, by using social media sites and sharing negative or false content about someone else to harass, intimidate or cause great harm to another. In India, almost 8 out of 10 faces cyberbullying or cyberstalking by following on social media and sending messages through chat rooms or email. They try to bully them by sending crummy content and try to indulge them in vulnerable activities and by the messages or video calls they intimidate them to do this or abstains them to do, whatever they think is feasible for themselves, and when the bullied think that the things are going unexpectedly then he/she publishes that content on social media sites which goes viral within days and that affects the bullies reputation, his image and to cope with it the victim commits suicide. This type of cybercrime is at its peak, it’s a tool for criminals to commit serious crimes like blackmailing, harassment, and also murder by defaming his or her reputation or we can call it abetment to suicide. As the quote goes words scar, rumours destroy and bullies kill. But unfortunately in India, there is no specific law for cyber bullying or cyberstalking but these come under some provisions of the Indian penal code like sections 499, 292A, 354A, 354D, 507 and 509.
The aforesaid sections of the Indian penal code are not completely compiled with cyber stalking or cyber bullying but to some extent; it can be brought under these sections. Besides the Indian penal code, some provisions of the IT Act 2000 deals with cyber stalking or cyber bullying. The growing use of social media sites as we see the youths are becoming social media devotees which are not stupendous for society, A proper and separate legal framework is needed which will deal with crimes related to social media to scrutinize criminals and it shouldn’t procrastinate, otherwise, it will thrive and will become more dangerous. Social media is alluring both the boys and girls and the demerits of it are egregious for everyone. Besides the dark side of social media which is a tool of crime for criminals, social media also plays a vital role in enhancing useful knowledge and in spotlighting the issues. In India, we have seen a lot of instances where social media revealed the facts and the issues got viral through hashtags and the demand or requirement of people reaches higher authorities. Last year the zomato case got viral on social media where the girl tries to defame the pizza boy but with the shreds of evidence which also got viral on social media and give some relief to the pizza boy. Recently another case went viral in which a girl was beating a cab driver cruelly and try to defame the cab driver but with the use of social media, the reality came into forth. Social media is like a platform for justice, Where feminists try to create havoc amongst youths social media sites reveals the facts. In conclusion, my opinion is, social media is both perilous and important, it is now on us how to use it. It should be used appropriately and in chatting rooms/ messengers proper measures should be taken while talking with unknown persons because no one is aware of the true intention of the said unknown person, it maybe your enemy or it Maybe a gang of criminals. Furthermore, a proper legal frame work is needed and a separate act should be introduced which will deal with crimes related to social media.
(The author is a freelancer. Views are his own)